Are changes in county-level economic prosperity associated with changes in cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults (aged 40-64 years) in the US?
In this retrospective analysis of county-level mortality data from 3123 US counties from 2010 to 2017, every 10-point greater change in economic prosperity from baseline to follow-up (range, 5 to 92) was significantly associated with a 0.4% lower cardiovascular mortality rate per year among middle-aged adults.
In US counties from 2010 to 2017, a relative increase in economic prosperity was associated with a small relative decrease in cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults.
After a decline in cardiovascular mortality for nonelderly US adults, recent stagnation has occurred alongside rising income inequality. Whether this is associated with underlying economic trends is unclear.
To assess the association between changes in economic prosperity and trends in cardiovascular mortality in middle-aged US adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective analysis of the association between change in 7 markers of economic prosperity in 3123 US counties and county-level cardiovascular mortality among 40- to 64-year-old adults (102 660 852 individuals in 2010).
Mean rank for change in 7 markers of economic prosperity between 2 time periods (baseline: 2007-2011 and follow-up: 2012-2016). A higher mean rank indicates a greater relative increase or lower relative decrease in prosperity (range, 5 to 92; mean [SD], 50 ).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Mean annual percentage change (APC) in age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rates. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the additional APC associated with a change in prosperity.
Among 102 660 852 residents aged 40 to 64 years living in these counties in 2010 (51% women), 979 228 cardiovascular deaths occurred between 2010 and 2017. Age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rates did not change significantly between 2010 and 2017 in counties in the lowest tertile for change in economic prosperity (mean [SD], 114.1 [47.9] to 116.1 [52.7] deaths per 100 000 individuals; APC, 0.2% [95% CI, −0.3% to 0.7%]). Mortality decreased significantly in the intermediate tertile (mean [SD], 104.7 [38.8] to 101.9 [41.5] deaths per 100 000 individuals; APC, −0.4% [95% CI, −0.8% to −0.1%]) and highest tertile for change in prosperity (100.0 [37.9] to 95.1 [39.1] deaths per 100 000 individuals; APC, −0.5% [95% CI, −0.9% to −0.1%]). After accounting for baseline prosperity and demographic and health care–related variables, a 10-point higher mean rank for change in economic prosperity was associated with 0.4% (95% CI, 0.2% to 0.6%) additional decrease in mortality per year.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this retrospective study of US county-level mortality data from 2010 to 2017, a relative increase in county-level economic prosperity was significantly associated with a small relative decrease in cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults. Individual-level inferences are limited by the ecological nature of the study.
Khatana SAM, Venkataramani AS, Nathan AS, et al. Association Between County-Level Change in Economic Prosperity and Change in Cardiovascular Mortality Among Middle-aged US Adults. JAMA. 2021;325(5):445–453. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.26141
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