More Education Means Lowers Cardiovascular Risk, Regardless of Income

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yasuhiko Kubota, MD, MPH Visiting Scholar Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Kubota

Yasuhiko Kubota, MD, MPH
Visiting Scholar
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Educational inequality is one of the most important socioeconomic factors contributing to cardiovascular disease. Since education is usually completed by young adulthood, educational inequality may affect risk of cardiovascular disease early in the life course. We thought it would be useful to calculate the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease according to educational levels in order to increase public awareness of the importance of education.

Thus, our aim was to evaluate the association of educational attainment with cardiovascular disease risk by estimating the lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease using a US. biracial cohort. Furthermore, we also assessed how other important socioeconomic factors were related to the association of educational attainment with lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In men, lifetime cardiovascular disease risks were 59% for grade school, 53% for high school without graduation, 51% for high school graduation, 47% for vocational school, 46% for college with/without graduation, and 42% for graduate/professional school; in women, 51%, 49%, 36%, 32%, 32% and 28%, respectively. Individuals with more than a high school education had a lower lifetime risk than those with less educational attainment, regardless of their income, income change, occupation or parental educational attainment. Differences in lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease by education level were already apparent at midlife.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We reported the population cardiovascular disease burden according to each education level. More than one in two individuals with less than high school education had a cardiovascular disease event during his or her life-time. The strong association with educational level persisted once analyzed in the context of other socio-economic characteristics such as income, income changes, occupation and parental education level.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It may also be beneficial to calculate the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease according to educational attainment for other races/ethnicities.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Estimates of lifetime risk should be interpreted carefully as they may be to some degree confounded by other cardiovascular risk factors. Even so, we believe our estimates of lifetime risk can help in understanding the association of education with cardiovascular disease risk.
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Citation:

Kubota Y, Heiss G, MacLehose RF, Roetker NS, Folsom AR. Association of Educational Attainment With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular DiseaseThe Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 12, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1877

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