Socioeconomic status and health inequalities for cardiovascular prevention among elderly Spaniards Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Although it is known that social factors may introduce inequalities in cardiovascular health, data on the role of socioeconomic differences in the prescription of preventive treatment are scarce. We aimed to assess the relationship between the socioeconomic status of an elderly population at high cardiovascular risk and inequalities in receiving primary cardiovascular treatment, within the context of a universal health care system. METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 7447 individuals with high cardiovascular risk (57.5% women, mean age 67 years) who participated in the PREDIMED study, a clinical trial of nutritional interventions for cardiovascular prevention. Educational attainment was used as the indicator of socioeconomic status to evaluate differences in pharmacological treatment received for hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. RESULTS: Participants with the lowest socioeconomic status were more frequently women, older, overweight, sedentary, and less adherent to the Mediterranean dietary pattern. They were, however, less likely to smoke and drink alcohol. This socioeconomic subgroup had a higher proportion of coexisting cardiovascular risk factors. Multivariate analysis of the whole population found no differences between participants with middle and low levels of education in the drug treatment prescribed for 3 major cardiovascular risk factors (odds ratio [95% confidence interval]): hypertension (0.75 [0.56-1.00] vs 0.85 [0.65-1.10]); diabetic participants (0.86 [0.61-1.22] vs 0.90 [0.67-1.22]); and dyslipidemia (0.93 [0.75-1.15] vs 0.99 [0.82-1.19], respectively). CONCLUSIONS: In our analysis, socioeconomic differences did not affect the treatment prescribed for primary cardiovascular prevention in elderly patients in Spain. Free, universal health care based on a primary care model can be effective in reducing health inequalities related to socioeconomic status.


  • Mejía-Lancheros, C
  • Estruch, R
  • Martinez-Gonzalez, Miguel
  • Salas-Salvadó, J
  • Corella, D
  • Gómez-Gracia, E
  • Fiol, M
  • Lapetra, J
  • Covas, MI
  • Arós, F
  • Serra-Majem, L
  • Pintó, X
  • Basora, J
  • Sorlí, JV
  • Muñoz, MA

publication date

  • 2013

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