Socioeconomic Status and Cardiovascular Disease: an Update

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017 Sep 30;19(11):115. doi: 10.1007/s11886-017-0917-z.


Purpose of review: The aim of this paper is to summarize the recent and relevant evidence linking socioeconomic status (SES) to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs).

Recent findings: In high-income countries (HICs), the evidence continues to expand, with meta-analyses of large longitudinal cohort studies consistently confirming the inverse association between SES and several CVD and CVRFs. The evidence remains limited in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), where most of the evidence originates from cross-sectional studies of varying quality and external validity; the available evidence indicates that the association between SES and CVD and CVRFs depends on the socioeconomic development context and the stage in the demographic, epidemiological, and nutrition transition of the population. The recent evidence confirms that SES is strongly inversely associated with CVD and CVRFs in HICs. However, there remains a need for more research to better understand the way socioeconomic circumstances become embodied in early life and throughout the life course to affect cardiovascular risk in adult and later life. In LMICs, the evidence remains scarce; thus, there is an urgent need for large longitudinal studies to disaggregate CVD and CVRFs by socioeconomic indicators, particularly as these countries already suffer the greatest burden of CVD.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Cardiovascular risk factors; High-income countries; Low- and middle-income countries; Socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*