Educational Gradients in Cardiovascular Health: Cohort Change and Race and Ethnic Disparities

Audrey N. Beck, San Diego State University
Shih-Fan Lin, San Diego State University
Brian K. Finch, RAND Corporation

We use pooled data from nine waves (1971-2010) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N=49,278) to document how educational gradients in cardiovascular health by race and ethnicity have changed across cohorts. Using logistic regression models with period fixed effects we find evidence of a convergence across cohorts between Mexican-Americans and whites for hypertension, and Mexican-Americans and blacks for obesity, LDL cholesterol, and smoking behavior. Educational gradients, the gap between those with a high school degree and those with a college degree, consistently narrow across cohorts for hypertension and widen across cohorts for smoking behavior across all subgroups; cholesterol and obesity show cohort-specific changes in the gradients but no trend towards narrowing inequality.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Adult Health and Mortality