OBJECTIVE: To assess the extent to which socioeconomic status (SES) contributes to geographic disparity in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. METHODS: An ecological study assessed the association between remoteness and CVD mortality rates, and the mediating effect of SES on this relationship, using Australia-wide data from 2009 to 2012. RESULTS: Socioeconomic status explained approximately one-quarter of the increased CVD mortality rates for females in inner and outer regional areas, and more than half of the increased CVD mortality rates in inner regional and remote/very remote areas for males, compared to major cities. After allowing for the mediating effect of SES, females living in inner regional areas and males living in remote/very remote areas had the greatest CVD mortality rates (Mortality Rate Ratio: 1.12, 95%CI 1.07-1.17; MRR: 1.15, 95%CI 1.05-1.25, respectively) compared to those in major cities. CONCLUSION: Socioeconomic status explained a substantial proportion of the association between where a person resides and CVD mortality rates; however, remoteness has an effect above and beyond SES for a number of subpopulations. Implications for public health: This study highlights the need to focus on both socioeconomic disadvantage and accessibility to reduce CVD mortality in regional and remote Australia.
Australia and New Zealand journal of public health