“To date, there has been no systematic synthesis of the literature comparing sex differences in the relationship between markers of [socioeconomic status] and CVD,” Kathryn Backholer, PhD, of the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, and colleagues wrote. “We, therefore, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to ascertain the most reliable estimate of the sex differences in the [RRs] of socioeconomic status on the risk of incident CHD, stroke and CVD in the general population.”
The researchers analyzed 116 cohorts, including 22 million individuals (35% women), from Asia (n = 22), Europe (n = 75), North America (n = 7) and Australasia (n = 12). More than 1 million CVD events were documented.
Across the studies, socioeconomic status was determined by educational attainment, area-level deprivation, occupation or income.
For CHD, when the lowest level of education was compared with the highest, the pooled age-adjusted RR for women was 1.66 (95% CI, 1.46-1.88) vs. 1.3 (95% CI, 1.15-1.48) for men. The pooled RRs remained significantly different for women vs. men when adjusting for CVD risk factors.
Women with the lowest level of education were a higher risk for CHD compared with men with the same level of education (age-adjusted RR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.09-1.41). The risk remained significant after adjustments for CVD risk factors (RR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.09-1.63).