• Socio-Economic Factors and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A County-Level Analysis of Georgia

      Adepu, Sanjana (Augusta University, 2019-10)
      Background: With over 20,000 deaths (~1 in every 3 deaths) per year, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Georgia. Studying the overall impact of multiple socioeconomic factors (SES) on CVD could lead to a better understanding of the determinants of public health. The factors examined in this study include physical inactivity, median household income, health insurance, and air quality. While several studies examine the effects of a single SES factor on CVD, this study analyses multiple SES factors on CVD death rates in Georgia. Methods: County-level socioeconomic factors for Georgia were obtained from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A multiple regression model was developed to identify the factors that explain CVD death rates in Georgia. Results: In Georgia, the median household income and annual average ambient concentrations of PM2.5 were the most significant factors. Lower levels of median household income were associated with higher CVD death rates; higher concentrations of PM2.5 were associated with higher CVD death rates. Additionally, leisure-time physical inactivity was marginally significant, which indicates higher percentages of physical inactivity led to higher CVD death rates. Conclusion: Policies that increase median household income and lower annual ambient concentrations may also have secondary benefits to public health and, in particular, cardiovascular disease death rates in Georgia. Future studies could expand upon this analysis by studying the effects of SES on the national level.