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Education, income and ethnic differences in cumulative biological risk profiles in a national sample of US adults: NHANES III (1988-1994)

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  • Seeman, Teresa
  • Merkin, Sharon S.
  • Crimmins, Eileen
  • Koretz, Brandon
  • Charette, Susan
  • Karlamangla, Arun
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    Abstract

    Data from the nationally representative US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III cohort were used to examine the hypothesis that socio-economic status is consistently and negatively associated with levels of biological risk, as measured by nine biological parameters known to predict health risks (diastolic and systolic blood pressure, pulse, HDL and total cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin, c-reactive protein, albumin and waist-hip ratio), resulting in greater cumulative burdens of biological risk among those of lower education and/or income. As hypothesized, consistent education and income gradients were seen for biological parameters reflecting cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory risk: those with lower education and income exhibiting greater prevalence of high-risk values for each of nine individual biological risk factors. Significant education and income gradients were also seen for summary indices reflecting cumulative burdens of cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory risks as well as overall total biological risks. Multivariable cumulative logistic regression models revealed that the education and income effects were each independently and negatively associated with cumulative biological risks, and that these effects remained significant independent of age, gender, ethnicity and lifestyle factors such as smoking and physical activity. There were no significant ethnic differences in the patterns of association between socio-economic status and biological risks, but older age was associated with significantly weaker education and income gradients.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 72-87

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:72-87

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    Keywords: Biological markers Biological aging Education Ethnicity Income Socio-economic status (SES) USA;

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    Cited by:
    1. Hudson, Darrell L. & Puterman, Eli & Bibbins-Domingo, Kirsten & Matthews, Karen A. & Adler, Nancy E., 2013. "Race, life course socioeconomic position, racial discrimination, depressive symptoms and self-rated health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 7-14.
    2. Theall, Katherine P. & Brett, Zoƫ H. & Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A. & Dunn, Erin C. & Drury, Stacy S., 2013. "Neighborhood disorder and telomeres: Connecting children's exposure to community level stress and cellular response," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 50-58.
    3. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M. & Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2013. "The Earned Income Tax Credit, Health, and Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 7261, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Samir KC & Harold Lentzner, 2010. "The effect of education on adult mortality and disability: a global perspective," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 201-235.
    5. Gruenewald, Tara L. & Karlamangla, Arun S. & Hu, Perry & Stein-Merkin, Sharon & Crandall, Carolyn & Koretz, Brandon & Seeman, Teresa E., 2012. "History of socioeconomic disadvantage and allostatic load in later life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 75-83.

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