Socioeconomic Status Predicts Post-Heart Attack Lifestyle

Higher-status survivors less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise and moderate alcohol use

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack survivors with lower socioeconomic status are significantly less likely than those with higher socioeconomic status to make healthy lifestyle changes during the early convalescent period, according to study findings published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Raymond H.M. Chan, M.D., of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues assessed lifestyle behaviors 30 days after an index acute myocardial infarction hospitalization in 1,801 patients in Ontario, Canada.

The investigators found that lower socioeconomic status was associated with a poorer prognosis and a greater illness severity at baseline. But patients in the highest income tertile were significantly less likely than those in the lowest tertile to smoke (odds ratio, 0.36) and significantly more likely to exercise and decrease or discontinue alcohol use (ORs, 1.40 and 1.64, respectively). The researchers also found that education had a weaker association with healthy lifestyle behaviors than income, and that regular physical exercise at one month was associated with lower long-term mortality.

"Socioeconomic differences in lifestyle behaviors were likely self-directed and not explained by physician factors such as guidance, instruction, or counseling because physician-directed counseling for exercise and diet were similar across socioeconomic status subgroups," the authors write.

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