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CMAJ. 1986 Jan 15; 134(2): 127–132.
PMCID: PMC1490638

Socioeconomic disparities in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Despite a general decline in mortality rates in recent decades, these rates are substantially higher among lower socioeconomic groups. To determine target groups for preventive health promotion programs, the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease by socioeconomic group in Canadian adults aged 20 to 69 years was examined through comparison of estimates from the 1978-79 Canada Health Survey, the 1981 Canada Fitness Survey and the labour force smoking surveys of 1975 and 1983. Level of education was used as a measure of socioeconomic status. The risk factors considered were cigarette smoking, overweight, obesity, elevated diastolic blood pressure, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, elevated serum cholesterol level, diabetes mellitus and the conjoint use of oral contraceptives and cigarettes. The prevalence of the risk factors tended to be higher among men and women with a low level of education. The results were consistent with those of recent Canadian studies showing that both men and women in lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

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Selected References

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