The American Heart Association is urging public- and private-sector healthcare policymakers to pay more attention to the social factors that influence heart health, such as race, education and location.
This all comes under what we at Cambridge Management Group have long worked to understand and address — the social determinants of health.
“What we’re discovering is that this is a very complicated space and there may be a number of variables beyond people’s control that have an impact on their health,” Dr. Clyde Yancy, an author of the report, told Reuters. Dr. Yancy is chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.
He gave as an example new research suggesting that local pollution levels are tied to the risk of high blood pressure, among an area’s population.
The AHA group notes that deaths from cardiovascular disease have declined since the 1970s thanks to advances in prevention and treatment.
But the group noted that not all groups have benefited equally across economic, racial and ethnic groups. “Overall population health cannot improve if parts of the population do not benefit from improvements in prevention and treatment,” it wrote.
They cited social and economic status, race, ethnicity, social support, culture and language, access to care and place of residence as determining factors of health.