STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to explore the relationships between five socioeconomic variables and three main cardiovascular diseases (ischaemic heart disease, hypertensive disease, and cerebrovascular disease) in Hong Kong. DESIGN--This cross sectional study used data from the 1986 by-census and registered death data for 1985 to 1987 in Hong Kong. For each of 24 districts, the correlation coefficients between log standardised mortality ratios for the three cardiovascular diseases and the percentages of professional and administrative workers, production and agricultural workers, persons aged 15 and over having tertiary education, households with higher income, and people living in private residential blocks were calculated. Besides simple linear regression and correlation, factor analysis was used to produce a new single surrogate measure summarising the five most useful variables in 24 sets of districts. SETTING--The whole Hong Kong area (population approximately 5.5 million) was divided into 24 districts, which were the study units. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--For ischaemic heart disease in men, the correlation coefficients of the log standardised mortality ratios with the five socioeconomic variables as well as with the factor score were all statistically significant. For women, statistical significance was obtained in only two of five socioeconomic variables. No such trends were obtained for the other two cardiovascular diseases for either men or women. CONCLUSIONS--The study suggests that in Hong Kong in recent years, a higher level of socioeconomic status is associated with higher risk of death from ischaemic heart disease; but this association is not present for hypertensive disease and cerebrovascular disease.
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