TUESDAY, Feb. 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Rural counties and counties with a higher percentage of Black residents continue to experience higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality despite overall declines in CVD mortality, according to a study published in the Jan. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Heejung Son, Ph.D., from University of Georgia in Athens, and colleagues used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to identify 17 key social determinants of health factors (including rural-urban status, county racial composition, income, food, and housing status) and linked them with CVD mortality data from the Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 3,142 counties from 2009 to 2018.
The researchers found that during the 10-year period, CVD mortality declined at an annual rate of 1.08 deaths per 100,000 people. However, CVD mortality rates were consistently higher among rural counties and counties with a higher percentage of Black residents versus urban counties and counties with a lower percentage of Black residents. During the last decade, there was no significant change observed in the rural-urban CVD mortality gap, although the association between the percentage of Black residents and CVD mortality showed a significant decline over time.
“We need to be thinking outside of the box,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This study presents evidence for stronger interventions related to housing, income support and food security. We need to be proactive instead of waiting for people to get sick to provide medical care.”