Press Release - Mar 20, 2012
Study Finds State Wealth Affects Women’s Heart Disease Risk
Women's Hospital researchers find that women who live in wealthy states have a
lower level of certain cardiovascular disease risk factors
According to new research from Brigham
and Women's Hospital (BWH), a state's level of wealth or poverty is linked with
levels of cardiovascular inflammation in women. Cardiovascular
inflammation is a key risk factor for heart disease. This research, led
by Cheryl R. Clark, MD, ScD, the director of health equity research and
intervention at the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at BWH was
published March 20 in the online edition of BMC Public Health.
"We have been learning that geography matters for
heart disease risk," Clark said. "Our study suggests that state-level
resources may contribute to early risk factors for heart disease in women."
examined each state's gross domestic product, poverty rate and level of
financial inequality, and then compared those factors to biomarkers of
cardiovascular inflammation in women nation-wide who took part in the Women's
Health Study. They found that women who live in wealthy states have lower
levels of cardiovascular inflammation than women who live in states with fewer
resources. Additionally, women who live in states with higher levels of
financial inequality have higher levels of cardiovascular inflammation than
women in states with lower inequality.
also found that even when an individual woman's diet, weight, personal income
level, exercise and smoking habits were taken into account, the wealth of their
home state still significantly impacted their level of cardiovascular
note that further research is needed to examine the reasons behind this
This research was supported by an NIH-National Institute of Aging grant.