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Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Sep 15;172(6):717-27. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq193. Epub 2010 Aug 8.

Influence of life-course socioeconomic position on incident heart failure in blacks and whites: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

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  • 1Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. calp.roberts@downstate.edu


The influence of early-life socioeconomic position (SEP) on incident heart failure in blacks and whites is unknown. The authors examined the relation between early-life SEP and incident, hospitalized heart failure among middle-aged US participants (2,503 black and 8,519 white) in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Early-life SEP indicators assessed included parental education, occupation, and home ownership. From 1987 to 2004, 221 and 537 incident heart failure events were identified in blacks and whites, respectively. In Cox proportional hazards regression, early-life SEP was inversely related to incident heart failure after adjustment for age, gender, and study center (for blacks, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.39, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00, 1.95; for whites, HR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.64). Additional adjustment for young and mid-to-older adulthood SEP and established heart failure risk factors attenuated this association towards the null in both blacks and whites. Of the SEP measures, mid-to-older adulthood SEP showed the strongest association with incident heart failure in both blacks (HR = 1.32, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.96) and whites (HR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.75). SEP over the life course is related to the risk of incident heart failure, with SEP later in adulthood having a more prominent role than earlier SEP.

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