Decomposing Black-White Disparities in Heart Disease Mortality in the United States, 1973-2010: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis.

American Journal of Epidemiology

PubMedID: 26199382

Kramer MR, Valderrama AL, Casper ML. Decomposing Black-White Disparities in Heart Disease Mortality in the United States, 1973-2010: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2015;182(4):302-12.
Against the backdrop of late 20th century declines in heart disease mortality in the United States, race-specific rates diverged because of slower declines among blacks compared with whites. To characterize the temporal dynamics of emerging black-white racial disparities in heart disease mortality, we decomposed race-sex-specific trends in an age-period-cohort (APC) analysis of US mortality data for all diseases of the heart among adults aged =35 years from 1973 to 2010. The black-white gap was largest among adults aged 35-59 years (rate ratios ranged from 1. 2 to 2. 7 for men and from 2. 3 to 4. 0 for women) and widened with successive birth cohorts, particularly for men. APC model estimates suggested strong independent trends across generations ("cohort effects") but only modest period changes. Among men, cohort-specific black-white racial differences emerged in the 1920-1960 birth cohorts. The apparent strength of the cohort trends raises questions about life-course inequalities in the social and health environments experienced by blacks and whites which could have affected their biomedical and behavioral risk factors for heart disease. The APC results suggest that the genesis of racial disparities is neither static nor restricted to a single time scale such as age or period, and they support the importance of equity in life-course exposures for reducing racial disparities in heart disease.