Socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk in urban South Asia: The CARRS Study

Mohammed K. Ali, Binukumar Bhaskarapillai, Roopa Shivashankar, Deepa Mohan, Zafar A. Fatmi, Rajendra Pradeepa, M. Masood Kadir, Viswanathan Mohan, Nikhil Tandon, K. M. Venkat Narayan, Dorairaj Prabhakaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Background Although South Asians experience cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors at an early age, the distribution of CVD risks across the socioeconomic spectrum remains unclear. Methods We analysed the 2011 Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia survey data including 16,288 non-pregnant adults (≥20 years) that are representative of Chennai and Delhi, India, and Karachi, Pakistan. Socioeconomic status (SES) was defined by highest education (primary schooling, high/secondary schooling, college graduate or greater); wealth tertiles (low, middle, high household assets) and occupation (not working outside home, semi/unskilled, skilled, white-collar work). We estimated age and sex-standardized prevalence of behavioural (daily fruit/vegetables; tobacco use), weight (body mass index; waist-to-height ratio) and metabolic risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia; hypo-HDL; and hypertriglyceridaemia) by each SES category. Results Across cities, 61.2% and 16.1% completed secondary and college educations, respectively; 52.8% reported not working, 22.9% were unskilled; 21.3% were skilled and 3.1% were white-collar workers. For behavioural risk factors, low fruit/vegetable intake, smoked and smokeless tobacco use were more prevalent in lowest education, wealthy and occupation (for men only) groups compared to higher SES counterparts, while weight-related risks (body mass index 25.0-29.9 and ≥30 kg/m2; waist-to-height ratio ≥0.5) were more common in higher educated and wealthy groups, and technical/professional men. For metabolic risks, a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemias was observed in more educated and affluent groups, with unclear patterns across occupation groups. Conclusions SES-CVD patterns are heterogeneous, suggesting customized interventions for different SES groups may be warranted. Different behavioural, weight, and metabolic risk factor prevalence patterns across SES indicators may signal on-going epidemiological transition in South Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-419
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • South Asians
  • global cardiovascular health
  • socioeconomic status


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