Background Social differences in lung functioning have been reported previously but the assessment of the role of socioeconomic position (SEP) at different stages of life, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), is less well understood. This study addressed these two issues by focusing on adults from the HAPIEE study.
Methods This analysis included 10,160 individuals from the Czech Republic, Poland, and Lithuania (aged 45–70 years in 2002–2005) with complete information on pulmonary function tests. Lung function was classified as normal if values of FEV1/FVC (forced expiratory volume in the first second divided by forced vital capacity) and forced vital capacity were higher than the lower limit of normality and classified as impaired if otherwise. SEP at three stages of life was assessed using the mother’s education (childhood), participant’s education (young adulthood), and current ability to pay for food, clothes, and bills (late adulthood). Each SEP measure was dichotomized as advantaged or disadvantaged. The associations between impaired lung function and life-course SEP were assessed by multivariable logistic regression.
Results Disadvantaged SEP in young adulthood (OR=1.32, 95%CI: 1.16–1.50) or late adulthood (OR=1.15, 95%CI: 1.03–1.29) increased the chance of impaired lung function during late adulthood. Participants disadvantaged at all three-time points exhibited the highest odds of impaired lung function in late adulthood (OR=1.55, 95%CI: 1.25–1.93), compared to those always advantaged.
Conclusion Reducing socioeconomic inequalities in young and late adulthood may contribute to reducing the risk of impaired lung function in late adulthood.
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