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Socio-economic disadvantage and body mass over the life course in women and men: results from the Northern Swedish Cohort
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
2012 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 22, no 3, 322-327 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Obesity and body mass in adulthood relate both to current and to childhood socio-economic status, particularly in women, but the underlying life course processes are not known. This study aims at examining whether the life course socio-economic status—body mass association in women and men is explained by the cumulative risk or adolescent sensitive period models whether associations are similar at different life course stages; and whether health behaviours explain the associations.

Methods: A total of 476 women and 517 men participated in this 27-year prospective cohort study (participation rate 93%). Body mass index was assessed at the age of 16 and 43 years and self-reported at the age of 21 and 30 years. Information on socio-economic status by own or parental (age 16 years) occupation, smoking, snuff, alcohol, physical activity and diet was collected at each age.

Results: In women, cumulative socio-economic status and socio-economic status in adolescence were related to body mass index at the age of 16, 21, 30 and 43 years and to the 27-year change in body mass, independently of health behaviours and for adolescent socio-economic status also of later socio-economic attainment. Associations were generally stronger for body mass at older age. In men, associations were mostly non-significant, although health behaviours contributed strongly to body mass.

Conclusions: In women, both the sensitive period (in adolescence) and cumulative risk models explain the socio-economic–body mass link. Efforts to reduce the social inequality in body mass in women should be directed at the early life course, but focusing on unhealthy behaviours might not be a sufficient approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Vol. 22, no 3, 322-327 p.
Keyword [en]
body mass index, health behaviour, life course, social class
National Category
Family Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-44394DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr061ISI: 000304529400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-44394DiVA: diva2:420985
Available from: 2011-06-07 Created: 2011-06-07 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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More languages
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