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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jun 18;74(7):1134-1140. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly177.

Disadvantaged Early-Life Socioeconomic Circumstances Are Associated With Low Respiratory Function in Older Age.

Author information

1
Swiss National Center of Competence in Research LIVES: Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
2
Department of General Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
3
Laboratory ACTES (EA 3596), French West Indies and Guiana University, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France.
4
Unit of Population Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine, Primary Care and Emergency Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals.
5
Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
6
International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health, Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK.
7
Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Gerontology and Vulnerability, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
8
Division of Pulmonology, Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.
9
Service Hospitalier Universitaire de Pneumologie, Pôle Thorax et Vaisseaux, CHU Grenoble Alpes, France.
10
Laboratoire de Bioénergétique Fondamentale et Appliquée, CHU Grenoble Alpes, France.
11
Movement Control and Neuroplasticity Research Group, Department of Movement Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium.
12
Brain Behaviour Laboratory, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Poor lung function in late life may stem from early-life risk factors, but the epidemiological evidence is inconsistent. We investigated whether individuals who experienced disadvantageous socioeconomic circumstances (SEC) in early life showed lower levels of respiratory function in older age, a steeper decline over time, and whether these relationships were explained by adult-life SEC, body mass index, and physical inactivity in older age.

METHODS:

We used data from the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (2004-2015). Participants' peak expiratory flow (PEF) was assessed with a mini-Wright peak flow meter at second, fourth, and sixth waves. Confounder-adjusted linear mixed-effect models were used to examine the associations between early-life SEC and PEF in older age. A total of 21,734 adults aged 50-96 years (46,264 observations) were included in the analyses.

RESULTS:

Older adults with disadvantaged early-life SEC showed lower levels of PEF compared with those with advantaged early-life SEC. The association between early-life SEC and late-life PEF persisted after adjusting for adult-life SEC, smoking, physical inactivity, and body mass index. PEF declined with age, but the effect of early-life SEC on this decline was not consistent across robustness and sensitivity analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

Early life is a sensitive period for respiratory health. Further considering the effect of SEC arising during this period may improve the prevention of chronic respiratory diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Health status; Peak expiratory flow; Respiratory system; Socioeconomic factors

PMID:
31211384
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/gly177

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