COVID-19, Social Determinants of Health, and Opportunities for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease: A Conceptual Framework

Rienna G. Russo, Yan Li, Lan N. Ðoàn, Shahmir H. Ali, David Siscovick, Simona C. Kwon, Stella S. Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the social, economic, and health care systems in the United States and shined a spotlight on the burden of disease associated with social determinants of health (SDOH). Addressing SDOH, while a challenge, provides important opportunities to mitigate cardiovascular disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality. We pre-sent a conceptual framework to examine the differential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on SDOH across demographically diverse populations, focusing on the short-and long-term development of cardiovascular disease, as well as future research opportunities for cardiovascular disease prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic exerted negative shifts in SDOH and cardiovascular risk factors (ie, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, dietary behavior, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar). For example, evidence suggests that unemployment and food insecurity have increased, whereas health care access and income have decreased; changes to SDOH have resulted in increases in loneliness and processed food consumption, as well as decreases in physical activity and hypertension management. We found that policy measures enacted to mitigate economic, social, and health issues inadequately protected populations. Low-income and racial and ethnic minority com-munities, historically underserved populations, were not only disproportionately adversely affected by the pandemic but also less likely to receive assistance, likely attributable in part to the deep structural inequities pervasive in our society. Effective and culturally appropriate interventions are needed to mitigate the negative health impacts of historical systems, policies, and programs that created and maintain structural racism, especially for immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and populations experiencing social disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere022721
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number24
StatePublished - 21 Dec 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Health disparities
  • Social determinants of health


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