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Childhood social class and adulthood obesity: findings from the Glasgow Alumni Cohort
  1. M Okasha1,
  2. P McCarron2,
  3. J McEwen3,
  4. J Durnin4,
  5. G Davey Smith1
  1. 1Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, UK
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Dalneir House, Croftamie, By Drymen, Stirlingshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Okasha, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK; 

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A ssociations between obesity and adverse health outcomes, including cardiorespiratory disease, diabetes, and cancer, are well documented.1 These diseases are likely to pose ever increasing public health problems as the prevalence of obesity increases. The prevention of obesity requires an understanding of its determinants throughout the lifecourse.

A recent review concluded that childhood socioeconomic position is inversely related to adult obesity.2 Most studies are cross sectional or rely on recalled data, or both, and longitudinal data on obesity development are sparse. Two cohorts with measures of weight in young and mid-adult life (1958 British birth cohorts and the Tecumseh community health study (CHS)) may not have adequately adjusted for adult socioeconomic position. To explore the relation between childhood socioeconomic position and weight in early and later adulthood, we analysed data from a cohort of university alumni, who display little heterogeneity in their adult socioeconomic position.


The Glasgow Alumni Cohort consists of 15 322 participants who were examined at the university health service between 1948 and 1968.3 Height and weight were measured, and childhood social class was determined from the father’s occupation. …

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  • Funding: we are grateful for funding from the Stroke Association, Chest Heart and Stroke (Scotland), NHS R&D CVD Programme and World Cancer Research Fund.

  • Conflicts of interests: none declared.