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Childhood socio-economic position and objectively measured phyiscal capability levels in adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Birnie, Kate, Cooper, Rachel, Martin, Richard M., Kuh, Dianna, Sayer, Avan Aihie., Alvarado, Beatriz E., Bayer, Antony, Christensen, Kaare, Cho, Sung-il, Cooper, Cyrus, Corley, Janie, Craig, Leone, Deary, Ian J., Demakakos, Panayotes, Ebrahim, Shah, Gallacher, John, Gow, Alan J., Gunnell, David, Haas, Steven, Hemmingsson, Tomas, Inskip, Hazel, Jang, Soong-nang, Noronha, Kenya, Osler, Merete, Palloni, Alberto, Rasmussen, Finn, Santos-Eggimann, Brigitte, Spagnoli, Jacques, Starr, John, Steptoe, Andrew, Syddall, Holly, Tynelius, Per, Weir, David, Whalley, Lawrence J., Zunzunegui, Maria Victoria, Ben-Shlomo, Yoav and Hardy, Rebecca (2011) Childhood socio-economic position and objectively measured phyiscal capability levels in adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis PLoS ONE, 6, (1), e15564. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015564). (PMID:21297868).

Record type: Article


Background: Grip strength, walking speed, chair rising and standing balance time are objective measures of physical capability that characterise current health and predict survival in older populations. Socioeconomic position (SEP) in childhood may influence the peak level of physical capability achieved in early adulthood, thereby affecting levels in later adulthood. We have undertaken a systematic review with meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that adverse childhood SEP is associated with lower levels of objectively measured physical capability in adulthood.

Methods and Findings: Relevant studies published by May 2010 were identified through literature searches using EMBASE and MEDLINE. Unpublished results were obtained from study investigators. Results were provided by all study investigators in a standard format and pooled using random-effects meta-analyses. 19 studies were included in the review. Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from N = 17,215 for chair rise time to N = 1,061,855 for grip strength. Although heterogeneity was detected, there was consistent evidence in age adjusted models that lower childhood SEP was associated with modest reductions in physical capability levels in adulthood: comparing the lowest with the highest childhood SEP there was a reduction in grip strength of 0.13 standard deviations (95% CI: 0.06, 0.21), a reduction in mean walking speed of 0.07 m/s (0.05, 0.10), an increase in mean chair rise time of 6% (4%, 8%) and an odds ratio of an inability to balance for 5s of 1.26 (1.02, 1.55). Adjustment for the potential mediating factors, adult SEP and body size attenuated associations greatly. However, despite this attenuation, for walking speed and chair rise time, there was still evidence of moderate associations.

Conclusions: Policies targeting socioeconomic inequalities in childhood may have additional benefits in promoting the maintenance of independence in later life.

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Published date: January 2011


Local EPrints ID: 174215
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 1d247fd7-64c0-4519-8c92-85f5c756e904
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD
ORCID for Hazel Inskip: ORCID iD
ORCID for Holly Syddall: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 Feb 2011 14:08
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:11

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Author: Kate Birnie
Author: Rachel Cooper
Author: Richard M. Martin
Author: Dianna Kuh
Author: Beatriz E. Alvarado
Author: Antony Bayer
Author: Kaare Christensen
Author: Sung-il Cho
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: Janie Corley
Author: Leone Craig
Author: Ian J. Deary
Author: Panayotes Demakakos
Author: Shah Ebrahim
Author: John Gallacher
Author: Alan J. Gow
Author: David Gunnell
Author: Steven Haas
Author: Tomas Hemmingsson
Author: Hazel Inskip ORCID iD
Author: Soong-nang Jang
Author: Kenya Noronha
Author: Merete Osler
Author: Alberto Palloni
Author: Finn Rasmussen
Author: Brigitte Santos-Eggimann
Author: Jacques Spagnoli
Author: John Starr
Author: Andrew Steptoe
Author: Holly Syddall ORCID iD
Author: Per Tynelius
Author: David Weir
Author: Lawrence J. Whalley
Author: Maria Victoria Zunzunegui
Author: Yoav Ben-Shlomo
Author: Rebecca Hardy

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