A study shows that people from low socioeconomic backgrounds have lower mortality risks than those who failed to grow taller.
Washington: Various studies have pointed out that low socioeconomic status can be a significant risk factor for health. A new study has found that if one manages to improve one’s status, not only economically but also culturally, the outlook for life expectancy and health improves dramatically.
“Life course trajectories” are at the center of a study conducted by the Epidemiology and Prevention Department of IRCCS Neuromed, Italy, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The researchers analyzed the relationship between socioeconomic status over time and mortality in more than 22,000 people recruited in the Moli-sani study.
“Research on socioeconomic status generally focuses on one or more indicators measured at a specific point in life,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist in the department and first author of the study.
“For example, education level can be assessed in adulthood, but we don’t know what happened before or after graduation. There are many possible combinations, and a person born into a disadvantaged family can improve, both culturally and socially. We wanted to study the ‘trajectories’, the possible social paths that everyone can undertake during their life “.
From the analysis of these trajectories, it was possible to see how people who had a low socio-economic status during childhood, but then reached a good level of education and a better economic situation, had a lower risk of mortality than those that failed to improve. In addition, life expectancy has become similar to those that started with a more comfortable childhood.
And it is a journey that can also go back, as Licia Iacoviello, director of the department and professor of hygiene and public health at the University of Insubria, explains.
Another interesting aspect of the study is that subjects who had a good condition in childhood are likely to lose any advantage in terms of survival when they do not reach an adequate level of education. These data suggest that the socio-economic circumstances of the first phase of life, unfavorable or favorable, must be considered in the light of subsequent developments in individual socio-economic data.
Giovanni de Gaetano, President of Neuromed, said: “This is an interesting and very topical extension of the concept of ‘social elevator’. The socio-economic disadvantages of childhood do not represent a sentence without possibility of appeal. economic improvements can offset this initial negative situation. This study provides further scientific support for the need to do everything possible for a truly democratic society.
According to many social scientists in Italy, in recent years the social lift has stopped: those born poor remain poor; those born into a poorly educated family will not achieve a high level of education. “It is not only a problem for the quality of life of the citizens: now we know that it endangers the health of the people”, he added.