Background Since our knowledge of the associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) over the life course and inflammatory and metabolic markers, which are excellent predictors of cardiovascular disease, remains limited, we examined the association between social mobility over the life course and these markers at older ages.
Methods Our study used cross-sectionally collected data from 6142 participants aged 50 years and older from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We estimated linear and logistic models of the associations between social mobility, using information on childhood and adult SEP, C reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Our models were gradually adjusted for age, sex, chronic diseases, obesity, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking status and depressive symptoms.
Results Participants who experienced upward social mobility had higher CRP, fibrinogen and HbA1c levels compared with those who had stable high SEP over the life course, but lower compared with those who experienced downward social mobility or had stable low SEP. They also had lower HDL levels compared with those who had stable high SEP or downwardly mobile. Adjustment for covariates partially explained the associations between social mobility and CRP and HDL, and fully explained those between social mobility and fibrinogen and HbA1c.
Conclusions Social mobility is associated with inflammatory and metabolic markers at older ages with some of the observed associations persisting after accounting for covariates. Upward social mobility appears to partially reverse the damaging effect of childhood social disadvantage on inflammatory profiles in older ages.
- Social and life-course epidemiology
- SOCIAL EPIDEMIOLOGY
- SOCIAL INEQUALITIES
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Contributors All authors conceived the study aims and design. NN-E contributed to the literature review, data cleaning, data analysis, interpretation of the findings and writing the initial manuscript under the supervision of PD. PD critically revised the initial manuscript, and all authors participated in further revisions. The final manuscript was read and approved by all authors before submission.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing has been approved by the National Research Ethics Service (London Multicentre Research Ethics Committee (MREC/01/2/91)).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.