This is unpublished
Eugene Yang
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April 3, 2024

Social factors influence Asian Americans’ heart health

Education, employment and other determinants may pose different cardiovascular risks across Asian subpopulations, a study shows.
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Diversity Research

Unfavorable social determinants of health, such as being unemployed or not having a degree beyond high school were associated with an increased likelihood of risk for cardiovascular disease among Asian Americans, according to research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association. 

The authors also noted that the link between these unfavorable factors and cardiovascular disease risk factors varied widely among the Asian subgroups represented in this study.

“Despite the perception that Asian Americans may be less impacted by social determinants of health compared to other racial and ethnic groups, our findings indicate unfavorable social factors are associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors among Asian American groups,” said lead author Dr. Eugene Yang, a cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The investigators examined the responses of 6,395 U.S. adults who self-identified as Asian in the National Health Interview Survey from 2013 to 2018. The study analyzed 27 variables in six domains of social determinants of health: economic stability (including employment and income status), neighborhood trust, measures of community and psychological distress, food security, education and healthcare utilization. Survey-takers’ responses in these domains were identified as favorable or unfavorable.

The analysis showed a significant association between unfavorable social variables and respondents’ responses to survey questions about cardiovascular risk factors such as suboptimal sleep and high blood pressure.

Across all Asian respondents, each additional unit of unfavorable social determinants of health was associated with a 14% higher odds of high blood pressure, a 17% higher odds of unhealthy sleep, and a 24% higher odds of type 2 diabetes.