Hypertension and obesity continue to be major public health issues with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Research has consistently shown that socioeconomic factors, such as income, education, and access to healthcare, play a significant role in the development and management of these conditions. The purpose of this systematic review is to investigate the association between socioeconomic factors and hypertension and obesity, and to identify effective interventions to alleviate their burden.
A systematic search of electronic databases such as PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library were conducted using relevant keywords and MeSH terms to identify studies that examined the association between socioeconomic factors and hypertension and/or obesity. Eligible studies were selected based on predefined inclusion criteria, and data were extracted using a standardized form. Quality assessment was performed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.
A total of 35 studies were included in this systematic review, of which 18 focused on hypertension, 14 on obesity, and 3 on both conditions. The studies consistently showed that lower socioeconomic status was associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of hypertension and obesity. This association was mediated by factors such as poor diet quality, limited access to healthcare, and higher levels of chronic stress. However, one cross-sectional multilevel analysis conducted in India found that higher SES groups accounted for between 70% and 90% of the burden of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity in the population, consistent across different states in India. The studies included in this review had a global scope and varied in demographic focus.
Interventions to address socioeconomic factors have shown promising results in reducing the burden of hypertension and obesity. For example, a recent randomized controlled trial found that providing financial incentives to low-income individuals for healthy food purchases significantly improved diet quality, resulting in reductions in both obesity and blood pressureThe latest evidence also suggests that COVID-19 pandemic-related changes in employment and income may further exacerbate socioeconomic disparities in hypertension and obesity. Other interventions such as expanding access to healthcare and implementing policies that promote healthy food options and safe physical activity have also been shown to be effective in reducing health disparities
This systematic review confirms the significant role of socioeconomic factors in the development and management of hypertension and obesity worldwide. Effective interventions targeting socioeconomic factors have demonstrated promising results in reducing the prevalence and impact of these conditions for individuals and communities. Policies and interventions promoting access to healthcare, healthy food options, and safe physical activity can help reduce the burden of these conditions worldwide and improve health outcomes. Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on socioeconomic factors is also crucial in reducing health disparities related to hypertension and obesity.
Audience Take Away
This review provides valuable information on the link between socioeconomic factors, hypertension, and obesity. It suggests effective interventions such as expanding access to healthcare, promoting healthy food options and safe physical activity, and implementing policies to reduce socioeconomic disparities. The review