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Childhood infections, socioeconomic status, and adult cardiometabolic risk


Liu, RS and Burgner, DP and Sabin, MA and Magnussen, CG and Cheung, M and Hutri-Kahonen, N and Kahonen, M and Lehtimaki, T and Jokinen, E and Laitinen, T and Taittonen, L and Dwyer, T and Viikari, JSA and Kivimaki, M and Raitakari, OT and Juonala, M, Childhood infections, socioeconomic status, and adult cardiometabolic risk, Pediatrics (English Edition), 137, (6) Article e20160236. ISSN 0031-4005 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics

DOI: doi:10.1542/peds.2016-0236


Background and Objectives: Socioeconomic disadvantage throughout the life course is associated with increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases, but traditional risk factors do not fully account for the social gradient. We investigated the interactions between low socioeconomic status (SES) and infection in childhood and adverse cardiometabolic parameters in adulthood.

Methods: Participants from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, a cohort well phenotyped for childhood and adulthood cardiometabolic risk factors and socioeconomic parameters, were linked to lifetime hospitalization data from birth onward available from the Finnish National Hospital Registry. In those with complete data, we investigated relationships between infection-related hospitalization in childhood, SES, and childhood and adult cardiometabolic parameters.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 1015 participants (age range 3-18 years at baseline and 30-45 years at follow-up). In adults who were raised in below-median income families, childhood infection-related hospitalizations (at age 0-5 years) were significantly associated with higher adult BMI (β SE comparing those with 0 vs ≥1 hospitalizations 2.4 0.8 kg/m(2), P = .008), waist circumference (7.4 2.3 cm, P = .004), and reduced brachial flow-mediated dilatation (-2.7 0.9%, P = .002). No equivalent associations were observed in participants from higher-SES families.

Conclusions: Infection was associated with worse cardiovascular risk factor profiles only in those from lower-SES families. Childhood infection may contribute to social gradients observed in adult cardiometabolic disease risk factors. These findings suggest reducing childhood infections, especially in socioeconomic disadvantaged children, may reduce the cardiometabolic disease burden in adults.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:infection, socioeconomic status, cardiometabolic risk
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Magnussen, CG (Associate Professor Costan Magnussen)
ID Code:110069
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1037559)
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-07-12
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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