Hong and Mainous noted that consistent with previous studies, areas in the South bear a higher burden of disease.
“Many counties located in southern states, which are often characterized by higher obesity and diabetes prevalence, food deserts and health professional shortage areas, were identified at increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Hong, an assistant professor in the department of health services research, management and policy and a member of the UF Health Cancer Center.
Mainous and colleague Hend Mansoor, Ph.D., Pharm.D., have created the EZ-CVD, a simple, six-question risk score for individuals to determine their own health disease risk and share with their health care provider.
Next, the researchers plan to quantify the social determinants of health contributing to COVID-19 outcomes, such as infection, hospitalization and mortality. Previous research suggests that areas with high poverty, income inequality and higher numbers of minority residents are disproportionately impacted by the virus.
“We need a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected pathways of social determinants of health factors to COVID-19 in order to better inform our health system and improve COVID-19 preparedness and response,” Hong said.