Measuring social inequalities in health is common; however, research examining inequalities in child cognitive function is more limited. We investigated household expenditure-related inequality in children’s cognitive function in Indonesia in 2000 and 2007, the contributors to inequality in both time periods, and changes in the contributors to cognitive function inequalities between the periods.
Data from the 2000 and 2007 round of the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) were used. Study participants were children aged 7–14 years (n = 6179 and n = 6680 in 2000 and 2007, respectively). The relative concentration index (RCI) was used to measure the magnitude of inequality. Contribution of various contributors to inequality was estimated by decomposing the concentration index in 2000 and 2007. Oaxaca-type decomposition was used to estimate changes in contributors to inequality between 2000 and 2007.
Expenditure inequality decreased by 45% from an RCI = 0.29 (95% CI 0.22 to 0.36) in 2000 to 0.16 (95% CI 0.13 to 0.20) in 2007 but the burden of poorer cognitive function was higher among the disadvantaged in both years. The largest contributors to inequality in child cognitive function were inequalities in per capita expenditure, use of improved sanitation and maternal high school attendance. Changes in maternal high school participation (27%), use of improved sanitation (25%) and per capita expenditures (18%) were largely responsible for the decreasing inequality in children’s cognitive function between 2000 and 2007.
Government policy to increase basic education coverage for women along with economic growth may have influenced gains in children’s cognitive function and reductions in inequalities in Indonesia.
This paper presents the development of the Complementary Feeding Utility Index (CFUI), a composite index aimed to measure adherence to infant feeding guidelines. Through an axiomatic characterization this paper shows the advantages in using the CFUI are the following: it avoids the use of arbitrary cut-offs, and by converting observed diet preferences into utilities, summing the score is meaningful. In addition, as the CFUI is designed to be scored continuously, it allows the transition from intake of beneficial foods (in low quantities) and intake of detrimental foods (in high quantities) to be more subtle. The paper first describes the rationale being the development of the CFUI and then elaborates on the methodology used to develop the CFUI, including the process of selecting the components. The methodology is applied to data collected from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to show the advantages of the CFUI over traditional diet index approaches. Unlike traditional approaches, the distribution of the CFUI does not peak towards mean value but distributes evenly towards the tails of the distribution.
Potential upstream determinants of coronary heart disease (CHD) include life-course socioeconomic position (e.g., childhood socioeconomic circumstances, own education and occupation); however, several plausible biological mechanisms by which socioeconomic position (SEP) may influence CHD are poorly understood. Several CHD risk factors appear to be more strongly associated with SEP in women than in men; little is known as to whether any CHD risk factors may be more strongly associated with SEP in men. Objectives were to evaluate whether cumulative life-course SEP is associated with a measurement of subclinical atherosclerosis, the ankle–brachial index (ABI), in men and women. This study was a prospective analysis of 1,454 participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort (mean age 57 years, 53.8% women). Cumulative SEP was calculated by summing tertile scores for father’s education, own education, and own occupation. ABI was dichotomized as low (≤ 1.1) and normal (> 1.1 to 1.4). After adjustment for age and CHD risk factors cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men (odds ratio [OR] 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22 to 3.42, for low vs high cumulative SEP score) but not in women (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.33). Associations with low ABI in men were substantially driven by their own education (OR 4.13, 95% CI 1.86 to 9.16, for lower vs higher than high school education). In conclusion, cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men but not in women.
To measure the childhood and life course socioeconomic exposures of people born between 1871 and 1949, and then to estimate the probability of death between 1965 and 1994, the probability of functional limitation in 1994, and the combined probability of dying or experiencing functional limitation during this period.
Setting, participants and design
Data were from the Alameda County Study (California) and pertained to people aged 17–94 years (n = 6627) in 1965 (baseline). Socioeconomic position (SEP) in childhood was based on respondent's reports of their father's occupation, and life course disadvantage was measured by cross‐classifying childhood SEP and the respondent's education and household income in 1965. The health outcomes were all‐cause mortality (n = 2420) and functional limitation measured using the Nagi index (n = 453, 17.4% of those alive in 1994). Relationships were examined before and after adjustment for changed socioeconomic circumstances after 1965.
Those from a low SEP in childhood, and those exposed to a greater number of episodes of disadvantage over the life course before 1965, were subsequently more likely to die, to report functional limitation and to experience the greatest health‐related burden.
All‐cause mortality, functional limitation and overall health‐related burden in middle and late adulthood are shaped by socioeconomic conditions experienced during childhood and cumulative disadvantage over the life course. The contributions made to adult health by childhood SEP and accumulated disadvantage suggest that each constitutes a distinct socioeconomic influence that may require different policy responses and intervention options.
Early child development may have important consequences for inequalities in health and well-being. This paper explores population level patterns of child development across Australian jurisdictions, considering socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.
Census of child development across Australia.
Setting and participants
Teachers complete a developmental checklist, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), for all children in their first year of full-time schooling. Between May and July 2009, the AEDI was collected by 14 628 teachers in primary schools (government and non-government) across Australia, providing information on 261 147 children (approximately 97.5% of the estimated 5-year-old population).
Level of developmental vulnerability in Australian children for five developmental domains: physical well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills and general knowledge.
The results show demographic and socioeconomic inequalities in child development as well as within and between jurisdiction inequalities. The magnitude of the overall level of inequality in child development and the impact of covariates varies considerably both between and within jurisdiction by sex. For example, the difference in overall developmental vulnerability between the best-performing and worst-performing jurisdiction is 12.5% for males and 7.1% for females. Levels of absolute social inequality within jurisdictions range from 8.2% for females to 12.7% for males.
The different mix of universal and targeted services provided within jurisdictions from pregnancy to age 5 may contribute to inequality across the country. These results illustrate the potential utility of a developmental census to shed light on the impact of differences in universal and targeted services to support child development by school entry.
Social Epidemology; Inequality; Public Health Policy; Child Health and Development; Australia
Dietary patterns are a useful summary measure of diet. Few studies have examined the nutrient profiles underpinning the dietary patterns of young children. The study aim is to determine whether dietary patterns at 6 and 15 months of age are associated with nutrient intakes at 8 and 18 months, respectively. Participants were children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children who had complete dietary pattern and nutrient intake data (n = 725 at 6–8 months, n = 535 at 15–18 months). The association between tertiles of dietary pattern scores and nutrient intake was examined using a non-parametric test for trend. Scores on the home-made traditional pattern (6–8 months) were positively associated with median energy intake. Each dietary pattern had different associations with energy-adjusted intakes of macro- and micro-nutrients. At both times, the discretionary pattern was positively and the ready-prepared baby foods pattern was negatively associated with sodium intake. At 6–8 months, calcium and iron intakes decreased across scores on the home-made traditional and breastfeeding patterns, but increased across the ready-prepared baby food patterns. These findings highlight that dietary patterns in infants and toddlers vary in their underlying energy and nutrient composition.
dietary patterns; infants; toddlers; nutrient intake; ALSPAC
Evidence is lacking on whether the duration and timing of low socioeconomic position (SEP) across a person's life course may be associated with incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D). The authors’ objectives were to investigate associations between cumulative SEP and the incidence of T2D in the Framingham Offspring Study (n = 1,893; 52% women; mean baseline age = 34 years). Pooled logistic regression analyses demonstrated that age-adjusted cumulative SEP was associated with T2D in women (for low vs. high cumulative SEP, odds ratio (OR) = 1.92, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08, 3.42). Age-adjusted analyses for young-adulthood SEP (7.85 for ≤12 vs. >16 years of education, OR = 2.84, 95% CI: 1.03), active professional life SEP (for laborer vs. professional/executive/supervisory/technical occupations, OR = 2.40, 95% CI: 1.05, 5.47), and social-mobility frameworks (for declining life-course SEP, OR = 2.99, 95% CI: 1.39, 6.44; for stable low vs. stable high life-course SEP, OR = 1.85, 95% CI: 1.02, 3.35) all demonstrated associations between low SEP and T2D incidence in women. No association was observed between childhood SEP and T2D in women for father's education (some high school or less vs. any postsecondary education, OR = 1.26, 95% CI: 0.72, 2.22). In men, there was little evidence of associations between life-course SEP and T2D incidence. These findings suggest that cumulative SEP is inversely associated with incidence of T2D in women, and that this association may be primarily due to the women's educational levels and occupations.
adult; diabetes mellitus; educational status; incidence; occupations; parents; risk factors; socioeconomic factors
Objective. The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between adverse childhood experiences and binge drinking and drunkenness in adulthood using both historical and recalled data from childhood. Methods. Data on childhood adverse experiences were collected from school health records and questionnaires completed in adulthood. Adulthood data were obtained from the baseline examinations of the male participants (n = 2682) in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) in 1984–1989 from eastern Finland. School health records from the 1930s to 1950s were available for a subsample of KIHD men (n = 952). Results. According to the school health records, men who had adverse childhood experiences had a 1.51-fold (95% CI 1.05 to 2.18) age- and examination-year adjusted odds of binge drinking in adulthood. After adjustment for socioeconomic position in adulthood or behavioural factors in adulthood, the association remained unchanged. Adjustment for socioeconomic position in childhood attenuated these effects. Also the recalled data showed associations with adverse childhood experiences and binge drinking with different beverages. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that childhood adversities are associated with increased risk of binge drinking in adulthood.
Socioeconomic position (SEP) has been shown to be related to obesity and weight gain, especially among women. It is unclear how different measures of socioeconomic position may impact weight gain over long periods of time, and whether the effect of different measures vary by gender and age group. We examined the effect of childhood socioeconomic position, education, occupation, and log household income on a measure of weight gain using individual growth mixed regression models and Alameda County Study data collected over thirty four years(1965–1999).
Analyses were performed in four groups stratified by gender and age at baseline: women, 17–30 years (n = 945) and 31–40 years (n = 712); men, 17–30 years (n = 766) and 31–40 years (n = 608).
Low childhood SEP was associated with increased weight gain among women 17–30 (0.13 kg/year, p < 0.001). Low educational status was associated with increased weight gain among women 17–30 (0.14 kg/year, p = 0.030), 31–40 (0.14 kg/year, p = 0.014), and men 17–30 (0.20 kg/year, p = 0.001).
Log household income was inversely associated with weight gain among men 31–40 (−0.10 kg/yr, p = 0.16). Long-term weight gain in adulthood is associated with childhood SEP and education in women and education and income in men.
Associations between life course socioeconomic position (SEP) and novel biological risk markers for coronary heart disease such as inflammatory markers are not well understood. Most studies demonstrate inverse associations of life course SEP with C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen, however little is known about associations between life course SEP and other inflammatory markers including intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), tumor necrosis factor II (TNFR2), lipoprotein phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity, monocytechemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) or P-selectin. The objectives of this analysis were to determine whether three life course SEP frameworks (“accumulation of risk”, “social mobility” and “sensitive periods”) are associated with the aforementioned inflammatory markers. We examined 1413 Framingham Offspring Study participants (mean age 61.2±8.6 years, 54% women), using multivariable regression analyses. In age- and sex-adjusted regression analyses, cumulative SEP (“accumulation of risk” SEP framework), for low vs. high SEP, was inversely associated with CRP, IL-6, ICAM-1, TNFR2, Lp-PLA2 activity, MCP-1 and fibrinogen. We found that there were few consistent trends between social mobility trajectories and most inflammatory markers. Own educational attainment was inversely associated with 7 of 8 studied inflammatory markers, while father’s education, father’s occupation and own occupation were inversely associated with 4, 5 and 4 inflammatory markers, respectively, in age- and sex-adjusted analyses. The strengths of association between SEP and inflammatory markers were typically substantially accounted for by CHD risk markers (smoking, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, total:HDL cholesterol ratio, fasting glucose, medications, depressive symptomatology) suggesting these may be important mechanisms that explain associations between SEP and the studied inflammatory markers.
USA; socioeconomic position; inflammatory markers; life course; social mobility; heart disease
This study examined the predictive ability of mother’s age, antenatal depression, education, financial difficulties, partner status, and smoking for a range of poor maternal and offspring outcomes assessed up to 61 months postnatally. Outcomes obtained from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were maternal postnatal depression at 8 weeks (n = 10,070), never breastfeeding (n = 7,976), feelings of poor attachment (n = 8,253) and hostility (n = 8,159) at 47 months, and not in employment, education or training (NEET, n = 8,265) at 61 months. Only a small proportion of women with each outcome were aged less than 20 years when they were pregnant. At least half of the women experiencing these outcomes, and up to 74.7% of women with postnatal depression, could be identified if they had at least one of the predictors measured during pregnancy (age < 20, depression, education less than O level, financial difficulties, no partner, or smoking). Model discrimination was poor using maternal age only (area under the receiver operator characteristic (AUROC) curve approximately 0.52), except for never breastfeeding (0.63). Discrimination improved (AUROC: 0.80, 0.69, 0.62, 0.60, 0.66 for depression, never breastfeeding, poor attachment, hostility and NEET, respectively) when all six predictors were included in the model. Calibration improved for all outcomes with the model including all six predictors, except never breastfeeding where even age alone demonstrated good calibration. Factors other than young maternal age, including education, smoking and depression during pregnancy should be considered in identifying women and their offspring likely to benefit from parenting support interventions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10995-011-0818-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
ALSPAC; Maternal age; Maternal health services; Predictive value of tests; Medicine & Public Health; Population Economics; Sociology, general; Public Health/Gesundheitswesen; Maternal and Child Health; Gynecology; Pediatrics
Education is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease incidence in developed countries. Blood pressure may be an explanatory biological mechanism. However few studies have investigated educational gradients in longitudinal blood pressure trajectories, particularly over substantial proportions of the life course. Study objectives were to determine whether low education was associated with increased blood pressure from multiple longitudinal assessments over 30 years. Furthermore, we aimed to separate antecedent effects of education, and other related factors, that might have caused baseline differences in blood pressure, from potential long-term effects of education on post-baseline blood pressure changes.
The study examined 3890 participants of the Framingham Offspring Study (mean age 36.7 years, 52.0% females at baseline) from 1971 through 2001 at up to 7 separate examinations using multivariable mixed linear models.
Mixed linear models demonstrated that mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) over 30 years was higher for participants with ≤12 vs. ≥17 years education after adjusting for age (3.26 mmHg, 95% CI: 1.46, 5.05 in females, 2.26 mmHg, 95% CI: 0.87, 3.66 in males). Further adjustment for conventional covariates (antihypertensive medication, smoking, body mass index and alcohol) reduced differences in females and males (2.86, 95% CI: 1.13, 4.59, and 1.25, 95% CI: -0.16, 2.66 mmHg, respectively). Additional analyses adjusted for baseline SBP, to evaluate if there may be educational contributions to post-baseline SBP. In analyses adjusted for age and baseline SBP, females with ≤12 years education had 2.69 (95% CI: 1.09, 4.30) mmHg higher SBP over follow-up compared with ≥17 years education. Further adjustment for aforementioned covariates slightly reduced effect strength (2.53 mmHg, 95% CI: 0.93, 4.14). Associations were weaker in males, where those with ≤12 years education had 1.20 (95% CI: -0.07, 2.46) mmHg higher SBP over follow-up compared to males with ≥17 years of education, after adjustment for age and baseline blood pressure; effects were substantially reduced after adjusting for aforementioned covariates (0.34 mmHg, 95% CI: -0.90, 1.68). Sex-by-education interaction was marginally significant (p = 0.046).
Education was inversely associated with higher systolic blood pressure throughout a 30-year life course span, and associations may be stronger in females than males.
Cumulative exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage across the life course may be inversely associated with coronary heart disease (CHD); the mechanisms are not fully clear. An objective of this study was to determine whether cumulative life-course socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with CHD incidence in a well-characterized US cohort that had directly assessed childhood and adulthood measures of SEP and prospectively measured CHD incidence. Furthermore, analyses aimed to evaluate whether adjustment for CHD risk factors reduces the association between cumulative life-course SEP and CHD. The authors examined 1,835 subjects who participated in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort from 1971 through 2003 (mean age, 35.0 years; 52.4% women). Childhood SEP was measured as father's education; adulthood SEP was assessed as own education and occupation. CHD incidence included myocardial infarction, coronary insufficiency, and coronary death. Cox proportional hazards analyses indicated that cumulative SEP was associated with incident CHD after adjustment for age and sex (hazard ratio = 1.82, 95% confidence interval: 1.17, 2.85 for low vs. high cumulative SEP score). Adjustment for CHD risk factors reduced that magnitude of association (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval: 0.78, 2.13). These findings underscore the potential importance of CHD prevention and treatment efforts for those whose backgrounds include low SEP throughout life.
cohort studies; coronary disease; myocardial ischemia; social class; socioeconomic factors
Objective. To examine the association between socioeconomic factors and weight status across 53 countries. Methods. Data are cross-sectional and from the long version of the World Health Survey (WHS). There were 172,625 WHS participants who provided self-reported height and weight measures and sociodemographic information. The International Classification of adult weight status was used to classify participants by body mass index (BMI): (1) underweight (<18.5), (2) normal weight (18.5–24.9), (3) overweight (25.0–29.9), and (4) obese (>30.0). Multinomial regression was used in the analyses.
Results. Globally, 6.7% was underweight, 25.7% overweight,
and 8.9% obese. Underweight status was least (5.8%) and obesity (9.3%) most prevalent in the richest quintile. There was variability between countries, with a tendency for lower-income quintiles to be at increased risk for underweight and reduced risk for obesity. Conclusion. International policies may require flexibility in addressing cross-national differences in the socio-economic covariates of BMI status.
This is the second part of a glossary on indicators of socioeconomic position used in health research (the first part was published in the January issue of the journal).
socioeconomic position; glossary
This glossary presents a comprehensive list of indicators of socioeconomic position used in health research. A description of what they intend to measure is given together with how data are elicited and the advantages and limitation of the indicators. The glossary is divided into two parts for journal publication but the intention is that it should be used as one piece. The second part highlights a life course approach and will be published in the next issue of the journal.
health; indicators; social class; social epidemiology; socioeconomic position
Odds ratio (OR), a relative measure for health inequality, has frequently been used in prior studies for presenting inequality trends in health and health behaviors. Since OR is not a good approximation of prevalence ratio (PR) when the outcome prevalence is quite high, an important problem may arise when OR trends are used in data in which the outcome variable (e.g., smoking or ill-health) is of relatively high prevalence and varies significantly over time. This study is to compare time trends of odds ratio (OR) and prevalence ratio (PR) for examining time trends in socioeconomic inequality in smoking.
A total of 147,805 subjects (71,793 men and 76,017 women) aged 25–64 from three Social Statistics Surveys of Korea from 1999 to 2006 were analyzed. Socioeconomic position indicators were occupational class and education.
While there were no significant p values for trend in ORs of occupational class among men, trends for PRs were significant. In women, p values for OR trends were similar to those for PR trends. In males, RII by log-binomial regression showed a significant increasing tendency while RII by logistic regression was stable between years. In females, trends of RIIs by logistic regression and log-binomial regression produced a similar level of p values.
Different methods of measuring trends in socioeconomic health inequalities may lead to different conclusions about whether relative inequalities are increasing or decreasing. Trends in ORs may overstate or understate trends in relative inequality in health when the outcome is of relatively high prevalence and that prevalence varies significantly with time.
Education level is one indicator of socioeconomic position which, in several countries including South Korea, is provided though death certificate data. Its validity determines the usefulness of death certificate data for exploring the association between socioeconomic position and mortality. This study was to compare education recorded on the death certificate with that reported before death in a nationally representative cohort of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
The 1998/2001 NHANES data contained unique 13-digit personal identification numbers that were individually linked to death certificate data from the Korean National Statistical Office. Duration of mortality follow-up was 7.1 years. The data from 513 deaths were used to determine sensitivity and specificity of education in death certificate and estimate agreement rates of education level between NHANES data and death certificate data. Odds ratios for agreement in education were also estimated. Covariates considered in the analyses were gender, age, duration between NHANES and death, and cause of death.
The proportion of deaths without recorded education in death certificate was very low (0.2%). A total of 29.4% discordant pairs were found. Sensitivity and specificity for college or higher education were 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.71–0.97) and 0.99 (0.98–1.00). However, sensitivity was poor for middle school education. The overall agreement rate was 70.7% (66.8%–74.6%) when education was categorized into five groups and increased up to 88.9% (86.2%–91.6%) when three education categories were used. The magnitude of validity and reliability for education did not generally vary with age, duration between health survey and death, and cause of death. However, a significantly smaller likelihood of agreement was found for middle and elementary school education after adjusting for covariates.
Low percentage of missing information on education in South Korean death certificate data could provide a great potential to monitor mortality inequalities. A more collapsed categorization in education would be recommended when a more definitive conclusion on educational mortality inequality is required.
To compare the relation between mortality and income inequality in Canada with that in the United States.
The degree of income inequality, defined as the percentage of total household income received by the less well off 50% of households, was calculated and these measures were examined in relation to all cause mortality, grouped by and adjusted for age.
The 10 Canadian provinces, the 50 US states, and 53 Canadian and 282 US metropolitan areas.
Canadian provinces and metropolitan areas generally had both lower income inequality and lower mortality than US states and metropolitan areas. In age grouped regression models that combined Canadian and US metropolitan areas, income inequality was a significant explanatory variable for all age groupings except for elderly people. The effect was largest for working age populations, in which a hypothetical 1% increase in the share of income to the poorer half of households would reduce mortality by 21 deaths per 100 000. Within Canada, however, income inequality was not significantly associated with mortality.
Canada seems to counter the increasingly noted association at the societal level between income inequality and mortality. The lack of a significant association between income inequality and mortality in Canada may indicate that the effects of income inequality on health are not automatic and may be blunted by the different ways in which social and economic resources are distributed in Canada and in the United States.
We examined whether trajectories of dietary patterns from 6 to 24 months of age are associated with intelligence quotient (IQ) in childhood and adolescence.
Participants were children enrolled in a prospective UK birth cohort (n = 7652) who had IQ measured at age 8 and/or 15 years. Dietary patterns were previously extracted from questionnaires when children were aged 6, 15 and 24 months using principal component analysis. Dietary trajectories were generated by combining scores on similar dietary patterns across each age, using multilevel mixed models. Associations between dietary trajectories and IQ were examined in generalized linear models with adjustment for potential confounders.
Four dietary pattern trajectories were constructed from 6 to 24 months of age and were named according to foods that made the strongest contribution to trajectory scores; Healthy (characterised by breastfeeding at 6 months, raw fruit and vegetables, cheese and herbs at 15 and 24 months); Discretionary (biscuits, chocolate, crisps at all ages), Traditional (meat, cooked vegetables and puddings at all ages) and, Ready-to-eat (use of ready-prepared baby foods at 6 and 15 months, biscuits, bread and breakfast cereals at 24 months). In fully-adjusted models, a 1 SD change in the Healthy trajectory was weakly associated with higher IQ at age 8 (1.07 (95%CI 0.17, 1.97)) but not 15 years (0.49 (−0.28, 1.26)). Associations between the Discretionary and Traditional trajectories with IQ at 8 and 15 years were as follows; Discretionary; 8 years −0.35(−1.03, 0.33), 15 years −0.73(−1.33, −0.14) Traditional; 8 years −0.19(−0.71, 0.33)15 years −0.41(−0.77, −0.04)). The Ready-to-eat trajectory had no association with IQ at either age (8 years 0.32(−4.31, 4.95), 15 years 1.11(−3.10, 5.33).
The Discretionary and Traditional dietary pattern trajectories from 6 to 24 months of age, over the period when food patterns begin to emerge, are weakly associated with IQ in adolescence.