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Cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S. fall, but disparities remain

18 Jul 2022 5:13 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

Findings support personalized public health interventions to help close gaps.

Research supported by the National Institutes of Health shows that cardiovascular-related deaths have declined over the past two decades, but disparities remain. [NIH News 7.18.2022]

Researchers found that inequities are mostly driven by differences in race and ethnicity, geographic location, and access to care, among other factors. The findings were published in Circulation, and the research was partially funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of NIH.

In one paper(link is external), researchers analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that, after adjusting for age, rates of cardiovascular disease-linked deaths dropped among Black and white adults between 1999 and 2019, as did heart disease-related disparities between the two groups. However, Black adults continue to experience higher death rates than white adults, especially in rural or segregated areas, according to the researchers.   

“The persistent disparities observed in our study likely reflect the fact that Black adults disproportionately experience social, economic, and environmental barriers to optimal health due to systemic inequities and structural racism,” said Rishi K. Wadhera, M.D., a section head of Health Policy and Equity at the Smith Center for Outcomes Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston.   

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