MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Katie Hastings MPH
Stanford University School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Heart disease has been the leading cause of death since the early 1900s, but recent data has suggested cancer will surpass heart disease in the upcoming decades. To date, this is the first study to examine the transition from heart disease to cancer mortality as the leading cause of death by U.S. county and sociodemographic characteristics using national mortality records from 2003 to 2015.
Our main findings are:
- Epidemiologic transition is occurring earlier in high compared to low income U.S. counties, and occurs earlier for Asian Americans, Hispanics, and NHWs compared to blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives.
- Data may suggest that this shift arises from larger reductions in heart disease than cancer mortality over the study period, particularly in the highest income counties.
- Continued disparities in heart disease and cancer mortality between blacks and other racial/ethnic groups, even in the highest income quintiles. While blacks continue to have the highest overall mortality than any other group, we do show this population experienced the greatest overall improvements in mortality (i.e. mortality rate reductions over time) for all-cause, heart disease, and cancer compared to all other racial/ethnic groups (except for heart disease in Hispanics).