Department of Economics and Business Economics

The effect of early-life and adult socioeconomic position on development of lifestyle-related diseases

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DOI

  • Linda Ejlskov
  • H. Bøggild, Aalborg University, Unit of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark., Denmark
  • C. D. Hansen, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Jesper Wulff
  • S.M. Hansen, Aalborg University, Unit of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark., Denmark
  • L. Starkopf, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • T. Lange, University of Copenhagen, Peking University , Denmark
  • T. Gerds, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • C. Torp-Pedersen, Aalborg University, Unit of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark., Denmark

Background: Early-life socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with lifestyle-related diseases in adulthood. However, evidence is lacking on the extent to which adult SEP mediates this association. Methods: Time to either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease or diabetes were assessed in the Danish population born between 1961 and 1971 (n = 793 674) from age 30 until 2015. Early-life position was assessed in 1981 (by parental) and again at age 30 (own) by four markers; income, occupation, education- divided into high, middle, low-and a combined score for all markers. Using a counterfactual approach, we estimated the total effect of early-life position on disease onset and the degree to which adult position mediated this effect. Results: Results of the time-to-event analysis showed a gradient of all early-life markers on the risk of developing all lifestyle-related diseases. Notably, comparing those in the lowest to the highest educational position, the hazard of COPD was 130% higher for women [hazard ratio = 2.30(95% confidence interval = 2.20-2.41)] and 114% higher for men [2.14 (2.05-2.25)]. About 67%(63- 70%) of the effect of educational position was mediated through adult position for COPD, 55% for cardiovascular disease and 50% for diabetes. For the combined score 44, 29 and 33%, respectively, was mediated. Conclusion: About one-tenth to two-thirds of the effect of early-life position is mediated by the position attained in adulthood. The degree mediated depend on the outcome investigated, gender and the social position marker used indicating that alternative pathways may play a key role in developing effective policies targeting early-life behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume29
Issue3
Pages (from-to)562–567
Number of pages6
ISSN1101-1262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • ASSOCIATION, CAUSE-SPECIFIC MORTALITY, CHILDHOOD, CIRCUMSTANCES, EPIDEMIOLOGY, MODELS, RISK-FACTORS

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