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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.
PARTICIPANTS, METHODS, AND RESULTS
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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