Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Educational Attainment and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in the Slovak Republic

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Educational Attainment and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in the Slovak Republic

Article excerpt


Good health is a crucial resource for social and economic development in each country. The higher interest of a society in the protection and development of health, the people enjoy a larger number of healthy life years and contribute more to the social and economic welfare (Mladovsky et al., 2009).

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), in other words diseases of the circulatory system, marked I00-I99 according to the International Classification of Diseases (WHO, 2010), are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, as well as in the European countries including the Slovak Republic. They perform the biggest part of noncommunicable diseases, namely 46.2% worldwide, which are defined as "those diseases which are not transmissible or caused by injury" (WHO, 2014).

In 2013, recent data of CVD mortality account for 37.5% of all deaths in the European Union (28), while ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases are the leading causes of death among CVD (Eurostat, 2016; Gavurová & Vagasová, 2016). In the Slovak Republic, there were 51,346 deaths in 2014, of which the proportion of cardiovascular diseases accounted for 49% (NCZI, 2014).

CVD mortality rates are influenced by many determinants, therefore they are challenging to examine. Some behavioural factors are completely modifiable, like alcohol and tobacco consumption, obesity, physical activity; partly modifiable are socioeconomic characteristics, e.g. family income, education, occupational status, marital status; conversely, others are non-modifiable, such as age, sex, ethnicity (Pol & Thomas, 2013). One of the many factors that may play a role is educational level which used to be marked as an indicator of social and economic status. This can cause a certain level of psychosocial stress leading to the greater expected CVD mortality rate (Schmidt et al., 2012).

The main aim of this paper is to reveal the structure of mortality from cardiovascular diseases by educational level, age and sex in the Slovak Republic throughout the time period 1996-2014. We would like to know if there are some differences in CVD mortality among sexes, age categories of people, various types of cardiovascular diagnoses, and educational attainment of the Slovak population.

The paper consists of four parts. The first one contains brief overview of CVD mortality research with emphasis on educational attainment. In the second part, there is a description of data used and methodology. The next part is dedicated firstly to a development analysis of CVD mortality rate by sex, age and leading causes of deaths, and secondly a CVD mortality structure by education, age, sex is presented during the period of 2011-2014. Finally, we conclude and evaluate research findings.

1.Literature Review

Differences in socioeconomic status, mainly in income, education and occupation, are associated with disparities in health status of population. Education is the most commonly used measure of socioeconomic status in epidemiological studies (Berkman & Kawachi, 2000).

Many researchers provide the evidence that the educational attainment strongly and negatively correlates with the all-cause mortality (Kibele, 2012; Hoffmann, 2008; Muller, 2002; Kunst & Mackenbach, 1994). A variety of recent epidemiology studies devote to the cardiovascular disease mortality reporting the negative influence of risk factors, for example, alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, high cholesterol, etc. (Nichols et al., 2014; Protulipac et al., 2015; GBD, 2013; Kamensky & Murín, 2009; Bowry et al., 2015; Psota et al., 2013; Odden et al., 2014).

There are some studies showing that men and women with low socio-economic status, defined also as low educational level, have an increased all-cause as well as CVD mortality risk (e.g. Stringhini et al., 2010; Albert et al., 2006; Strand & Kunst, 2007; Mackenbach et al. …

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