Socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease are pervasive, yet much remains to be understood about how they originate. The objective of this study was to explore the relations of socioeconomic status to lipid and glucose metabolism as indicators of cardiovascular health in 5–6year olds. Additionally to explore the explanatory role of maternal factors, birth outcome, and child factors.
In 1308 5–6year old ethnic Dutch children from the ABCD cohort study, lipids (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides), glucose and C-peptide were measured after an overnight-fast.
There were no differences in cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides between socioeconomic groups, as indicated by maternal education and income adequacy. However, children of low educated mothers had on average a higher glucose (β=0.15; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03 – 0.27), logC-peptide (β=0.07; 95% CI 0.04 – 0.09), and calculated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (β=0.15; 95% CI 0.08 – 0.22) compared to children of high educated mothers. Only childhood BMI partly explained these differences (models controlled for age, height, and sex).
The socioeconomic gradient in cardiovascular risk factors seems to emerge in early childhood. In absence of underlying mechanisms these empirical findings are relevant for public health care and further explanatory research.