Doctors Address Cardiovascular Disease Disparities in the United States
Doctors reviewed the underlying health disparities that contribute to heart disease in the United States in a new review published in Journal of the American Heart Association. The authors summarized research behind diet, one of the top modifiable risk factors for heart disease, and the disproportionate effects of racial, economic, and social disparities on diet quality. Several barriers to optimal nutrition environments play a role in the racial and economic imbalance for heart disease risk, including food deserts, food swamps where nutrient-poor food offerings outnumber healthful options, and access to food assistance programs. The authors call on public health policy changes to address these disparities to reduce poor health outcomes in underserved populations, such as increasing access to healthful foods and disincentivizing low-quality food purchases through revisions to nutrition assistance programs.