New research published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has found that educational and work experiences in early adulthood contribute to inequalities in cardiovascular health in later life, regardless of occupation and family income in middle adulthood.
There are important differences in health between the different sectors of our society, with those who have less education and in lower-status jobs are less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy on average than the most privileged. Although early adulthood is an important time both for the development of adult socioeconomic position and for the development of behaviors related to cardiovascular health, the extent to which the socioeconomic trajectories of early adulthood contribute has not been clear so far. directly to the differences in health observed in old age.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Bristol and the UCL Institute for Social Research analyzed socio-economic and health data collected over several decades from more than 12,000 members of the British Birth Cohort of 1970, to determine the contribution of early adulthood to differences in cardiovascular health in mid-adulthood. The scientists used a data-driven method to divide the population into different groups of socioeconomic trajectories based on their participation in education, different types of work, unemployment, or economic inactivity throughout early adulthood (from 16 to 24 years). They studied the association of these groups with cardiovascular risk factors at age 46, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and waist circumference. To determine whether the association of socioeconomic trajectories from early adulthood with cardiovascular health was mediated by socioeconomic status later in life, they examined how correction for occupation or family income at age 46 affected the link.
Professor Kate Tilling from the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, and lead author of the paper, said: “Measuring socioeconomic position in early adulthood has always been difficult as this is a transitional period in the one that most people’s occupations change over time. The method we have developed provides a flexible way of identifying socioeconomic status in early adulthood, and we hope it will be used in the future to answer other research questions related to this period of life. “
The researchers found that those who spent more time in education, moving to work in professional or managerial roles during early adulthood, had better cardiovascular health more than 20 years later (at the age of 46) than other groups. Importantly, this association was not exclusively due to higher income or higher level work at age 46, suggesting an independent and long-term association of early adulthood influences on health.
The findings indicate that material factors in middle adulthood do not contribute to the pathway through which the socioeconomic trajectory of early adulthood affects the health of adulthood, and the authors suggest that the development of health behaviors o Psychosocial factors such as stress, depression and work control in early adulthood can play an important role.
Dr Eleanor Winpenny from the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, and first author of the paper, said:
“We found that an individual’s education and work experiences in early adulthood had a much greater impact on cardiovascular health measures more than twenty years later than their occupation or income at that time.
These results suggest that we need to provide more support to young adults to enable healthy development into midlife and prevent disease in adulthood. Given the additional disadvantage for young adults as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, there is an urgent need to understand and mitigate the effect these circumstances may have on their future health. ”
Childhood socioeconomic status associated with arterial stiffness in adulthood
Winpenny, E. et al. The socioeconomic trajectories of early adulthood contribute to inequalities in adult cardiovascular health, regardless of the socioeconomic position of childhood and adulthood. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2021; August 6, 2021; DOI: 10.1136 / jech-2021-216611
Citation: Early Adulthood Education and Employment Experiences Play Independent Role in Later Life Cardiovascular Health (2021, Aug 6) Retrieved Aug 7, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021 -08-early-adulthood-employment-independent-role. html
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