Why heart disease risk varies across states?


  • Wealthier and more urbanised states tend to face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Kerala faces the highest risk at 19.5% and Jharkhand the lowest at 13.5%.

Facts and Figures:

  • The study calculated the average 10-year risk of a CVD event using an index called the Framingham risk score. It analysed data for nearly 8 lakh adults and found that the risk tended to be highest in the Northern, Northeastern and Southern states. Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir were not part of the study, for lack of data.
  • “Cardiovascular disease risk varied widely among states and we also observed important variation of risk factors, such as smoking and diabetes, by adults’ socio-demographic characteristics.
  • In the North, Northeast and South, higher body mass index (BMI), hypertension, diabetes and smoking prevalence contributed to the risk. BMI and blood glucose and blood pressure were associated with wealth and living in an urban area. Also, the prevalence of high blood glucose and high BP was high in middle and old age among the poorer groups, and in rural areas.
  • Smoking was more common in the poorer groups, in rural areas, and among males. It was most prevalent among males in the Northeastern states and West Bengal.
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and communicable diseases (CDs) have an inverse relation.
  • States like Jharkhand have higher [prevalence of] CDs, while there is a low prevalence of NCD. Developed states have a higher NCD burden and lower CD burden.
  • In less developed states like Jharkhand, life expectancy at birth is less than in developed states like Kerala. Life expectancy is affected by disease pattern. Some states are at high risk of CVDs as they are ahead in development and have better healthcare facilities.

Cause of Concern:

  • Lifestyle, dietary patterns and other factors have played a role in the variations.
  • Another factor is obesogenic environment — one that promotes weight gain and is not conducive to weight loss.
  • Such an environment includes higher urbanisation, using a car rather than walking, or a lift rather than stairs, and easy availability of high-calorie food in the surroundings.


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