Document Type


Publication Date



This systematic review synthesizes research published from January 2010-July 2022 on the social determinants of ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) carried out around the world and compares trends in high-income countries (HICs) to those in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). 41 studies met inclusion criteria (n = 28 HICs, n = 13 LMICs). Most were from the United States (n = 22) and cross-sectional (n = 33), and nearly all evaluated associations among adults. Among studies conducted in LMICs, nearly all were from middle-income countries and only one was carried out in low-income country. Education (n = 24) and income/wealth (n = 17) were the most frequently examined social determinants in both HICs and LMICs. Although most studies assessed ideal CVH using reliable and valid methods (n = 24), only 7 used criteria pre-defined by the American Heart Association to characterize ideal levels of each CVH metric. Despite heterogeneity in how outcome measures were derived and analyzed, consistent associations were evident between multiple markers of higher social status (i.e. greater education, income/wealth, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic majority status) and greater levels of ideal CVH across both country contexts. Gaps in the literature include evidence from LMICs and HICs other than the United States, longitudinal research, and investigations of a wider array of social determinants beyond education and income/wealth.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Annals of Epidemiology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Annals of Epidemiology, volume 76, in 2022.

The Creative Commons license below applies only to this version of the article.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.