Are childhood socio-economic circumstances related to coronary heart disease risk? Findings from a population-based study of older men.Int J Epidemiol 2007; 36(3):560-6IJ
The independent influence of childhood social circumstances on health in later life remains uncertain. We examined the extent to which childhood socio-economic circumstances are related to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in older British men, taking account of adult social class and behavioural risk factors.
A socio-economically representative sample of 5552 British men (52-74 years) with retrospective assessment of childhood socio-economic circumstances (father's occupation and childhood household amenities) who were followed up for CHD (fatal and non-fatal) for 12 years.
Men whose childhood social class was manual had an increased hazard ratio (HR) 1.34 (95% CI 1.11-1.63)-this effect was diminished when adjusted for adult social class and adult behavioural risk factors (cigarette smoking, alcohol, physical activity and body weight) (HR 1.19; 95% CI 0.97-1.46). Men whose family did not own a car in their childhood were at increased CHD risk even after adjustments for adult social class and behaviours (HR 1.35, 95% CI 1.04-1.75). Men with combined exposure to both childhood and adult manual social class had the highest risk of CHD (HR 1.51; 95% CI 1.19-1.91); this was substantially reduced by adjustment for adult behavioural risk factors (adjusted HR 1.28; 95% CI 0.99-1.65).
Less affluent socio-economic conditions in childhood may have a modest persisting influence on risk of CHD in later life.