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Associations between childhood to adulthood socio-economic mobility and adult diet quality


Wilson, JE and Sugumar, D and McNaughton, SA and Gall, S and Dwyer, T and Venn, A and Smith, KJ, Associations between childhood to adulthood socio-economic mobility and adult diet quality, The British Journal of Nutrition Article online ahead of print. ISSN 0007-1145 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0007114521003317


The impact of change in socio-economic status (SES) from childhood to adulthood (SES mobility) on adult diet is not well understood. This study examined associations between three SES mobility variables (area disadvantage, education, occupation) and adult diet quality. 1482 Australian participants reported childhood area-level SES in 1985 (aged 10-15 years) and retrospectively reported highest parental education and main occupation (until participant age 12) and own area-level SES, education, occupation and dietary intake in 2004-2006 (aged 26-36 years). A Dietary Guidelines Index (DGI) was calculated from food frequency and habit questionnaires. A higher score (range 0-100) indicated better diet quality. Sex-stratified linear regression models adjusted for confounders. Area-level SES mobility was not associated with diet quality. Compared with stable high (university) education, stable low (school only) was associated with lower DGI scores (males: β = -55, 95 % CI: -89, -21; females: β = -63, 95 % CI: -93, -34), as was downward educational mobility (participant's education lower than their parents) (males: β = -53, 95 % CI: -85, -20; females: β = -45, 95 % CI: -72, -17) and stable intermediate (vocational) education among males (β = -39, 95 % CI: -70, -07). Compared with stable high (professional/managerial) occupation, stable low (manual/out of workforce) males (β = -49, 95 % CI: -76, -22), and participants with downward occupation mobility (males: β = -32, 95 % CI: -53, -11; females: β = -28, 95 % CI: -48, -08) had lower DGI scores. In this cohort, intergenerational low education and occupation, and downward educational and occupational mobility, were associated with poor adult diet quality.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:childhood, cohort study, education, nutrition, socio-economic status
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Social epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health outcomes
UTAS Author:Wilson, JE (Ms Johanna Wilson)
UTAS Author:Sugumar, D (Ms Dipti Sugumar)
UTAS Author:Gall, S (Associate Professor Seana Gall)
UTAS Author:Dwyer, T (Professor Terry Dwyer)
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
UTAS Author:Smith, KJ (Dr Kylie Smith)
ID Code:147734
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2021-11-12
Last Modified:2021-12-08

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