A1 Journal article – refereed
Childhood socioeconomic status and lifetime health behaviors: The Young Finns Study

List of Authors: Elina Puolakka, Katja Pahkala, Tomi T. Laitinen, Costan G. Magnussen, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Satu Männistö, Kristiina S. Pälve, Tuija Tammelin, Päivi Tossavainen, Eero Jokinen, Kylie J. Smith, Tomi Laitinen, Marko Elovainio, Laura Pulkki-Råback, Jorma S.A. Viikari, Olli T. Raitakari, Markus Juonala
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Publication year: 2018
Journal: International Journal of Cardiology
Journal name in source: International Journal of Cardiology
Volume number: 258
Number of pages: 6
eISSN: 1874-1754

Background: Differences in health behaviors partly explain the socioeconomic gap in cardiovascular health. We prospectively examined the association between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and lifestyle factors in adulthood, and the difference of lifestyle factors according to childhood SES in multiple time points from childhood to adulthood.

Methods and results: The sample comprised 3453 participants aged 3–18 years at baseline (1980) from the longitudinal Young Finns Study. The participants were followed up for 31 years (N = 1675–1930). SES in childhood was characterized as reported annual family income and classified on an 8-point scale. Diet, smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity were used as adult and life course lifestyle factors. Higher childhood SES predicted a healthier diet in adulthood in terms of lower consumption of meat (β ± SE −3.6 ± 0.99,p < 0.001), higher consumption of fish (1.1 ± 0.5, p = 0.04) and higher diet score (0.14 ± 0.044, p = 0.01). Childhood SES was also directly associated with physical activity index (0.059 ± 0.023, p = 0.009) and inversely with the risk of being a smoker (RR 0.90 95%CI 0.85–0.95, p < 0.001) and the amount of pack years (−0.47 ± 0.18, p = 0.01). Life course level of smoking was significantly higher and physical activity index lower among those below the median childhood SES when compared with those above the median SES.

Conclusions: These results show that childhood SES associates with several lifestyle factors 31 years later in adulthood. Therefore, attention could be paid to lifestyle behaviors of children of low SES families to promote cardiovascular health.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 23:34