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Income inequality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a highly unequal country: a fixed-effects analysis from South Africa

Income inequality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a highly unequal country: a fixed-effects analysis from South Africa

Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui ORCID: 0000-0002-8919-6518, Kawachi, Ichiro, Subramanian, S. V. and Avendano, Mauricio (2018) Income inequality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a highly unequal country: a fixed-effects analysis from South Africa. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17:31. ISSN 1475-9276 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0741-0)

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Abstract

Background:
Chronic stress associated with high income inequality has been hypothesized to increase CVD risk and other adverse health outcomes. However, most evidence comes from high-income countries, and there is limited evidence on the link between income inequality and biomarkers of chronic stress and risk for CVD. This study examines how changes in income inequality over recent years relate to changes in CVD risk factors in South Africa, home to some of the highest levels of income inequality globally.

Methods:
We linked longitudinal data from 9356 individuals interviewed in the 2008 and 2012 National Income Dynamics Study to district-level Gini coefficients estimated from census and survey data. We investigated whether subnational district income inequality was associated with several modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in South Africa, including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, physical inactivity, smoking, and high alcohol consumption. We ran individual fixed-effects models to examine the association between changes in income inequality and changes in CVD risk factors over time. Linear models were used for continuous metabolic outcomes while conditional Poisson models were used to estimate risk ratios for dichotomous behavioral outcomes.

Results:
Both income inequality and prevalence of most CVD risk factors increased over the period of study. In longitudinal fixed-effects models, changes in district Gini coefficients were not significantly associated with changes in CVD risk factors.

Conclusions:
Our findings do not support the hypothesis that subnational district income inequality is associated with CVD risk factors within the high-inequality setting of South Africa.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018, The Author(s). Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: cardiovascular disease, gini coefficient, health behaviour, income inequality, longitudinal, multilevel, risk factor
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 16:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/29475

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