Korean J Adult Nurs.  2020 Dec;32(6):551-559. 10.7475/kjan.2020.32.6.551.

A Two-step Clustering Approach for Measuring Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Cardiovascular Health among Older Adults in South Korea

  • 1Assistant Professor, School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Washington Bothell, Washington, USA


This study aimed to identify socioeconomic clusters of older adults and compare cardiovascular health among the identified clusters.
A secondary analysis was performed using the data from 3,303 older adults (over 65 years of age; 56.5% women) who participated in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2016~2017). A two-step cluster analysis was used to identify older adults’ socioeconomic clusters based on 11 factors associated with Socioeconomic Status (SES). Differences in the cardiovascular health outcomes among the identified clusters were analyzed using the x2 test and one-way ANOVA. Results: A three-cluster solution was selected (p<.001) composed of low (n=715), middle (n=1,425), and high-SES clusters (n=1,163). The three clusters differed significantly in the prevalence of diabetes (p<.010), hypertension (p<.001), and metabolic syndrome (p<.001), with greater prevalence in the lower SES clusters. Similarly, systolic blood pressure (p<.001), body mass index (p<.010), and total cholesterol (p<.010) differed significantly among the clusters in the same pattern.
Older adults of lower SES clusters should be a crucial target group for health promotion interventions aimed at the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Tailored interventions can be developed by understanding intersecting SES risk factors in this group.


Cluster analysis; Cardiovascular diseases; Socioeconomic factors; Health status disparities; Korea
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