Socio-economic disadvantage from childhood to adulthood and locomotor function in old age: a lifecourse analysis of the Boyd Orr and Caerphilly prospective studies.


Birnie, K; Martin, RM; Gallacher, J; Bayer, A; Gunnell, D; Ebrahim, S; Ben-Shlomo, Y; (2010) Socio-economic disadvantage from childhood to adulthood and locomotor function in old age: a lifecourse analysis of the Boyd Orr and Caerphilly prospective studies. Journal of epidemiology and community health. ISSN 0143-005X DOI: 10.1136/jech.2009.103648

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Abstract

Background Socio-economic influences over a lifetime impact on health and may contribute to poor physical functioning in old age. Methods The authors examined the impact of both childhood and adulthood socio-economic factors on locomotor function at 63-86 years (measured with the get up and go timed walk and flamingo balance test) in the UK-based Boyd Orr (n=405) and Caerphilly (n=1196) prospective cohorts. Results There was a marked reduction in walking speed and balance time with increasing age. Each year of age was associated with a 1.7% slower walk time and a 14% increased odds of poor balance. Participants who moved from a low socio-economic position in childhood to a high socio-economic position in adulthood had 3% slower walking times (95% CI -2% to 8%) than people with a high socio-economic position in both periods. Participants who moved from a high socio-economic position in childhood to a low adulthood socio-economic position had 5% slower walking times (95% CI -2% to 12%). Participants with a low socio-economic position in both periods had 10% slower walking times (95% CI 5% to 16%; p for trend <0.001). In Boyd Orr, low socio-economic position in childhood was associated with poor balance in old age (OR per worsening category=1.26; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.57; p=0.043), as was socio-economic position in adulthood (OR=1.71; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.45; p=0.003). Similar associations were not observed in Caerphilly. Conclusion Accumulating socio-economic disadvantage from childhood to adulthood is associated with slower walking time in old age, with mixed results for balance ability.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 20644236
Web of Science ID: 296143300011
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/3245

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