Life-course socioeconomic disadvantage and lung function: a multicohort study of 70 496 individuals

European Respiratory Journal

Journal Article

<jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Lung function is an important predictor of health and a marker of physical functioning at older ages. This study aimed to quantify the years of lung function lost according to disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions across life-course.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>This multicohort study used harmonised individual-level data from six European cohorts with information on life-course socioeconomic disadvantage and lung function assessed by FEV<jats:sub>1</jats:sub> and FVC. 70496 participants (51% women) aged 18–93 years were included. Socioeconomic disadvantage was measured in early life (low paternal occupational position), early adulthood (low educational level), and adulthood (low occupational position). Risk factors for poor lung function (<jats:italic>e.g.</jats:italic>, smoking, obesity, sedentary behaviour, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases) were included as potential mediators. The years of lung function lost due to socioeconomic disadvantage were computed at each life stage.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>Socioeconomic disadvantage during life-course was associated with a lower FEV<jats:sub>1</jats:sub>. By age 45, individuals experiencing disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions had lost 4 to 5 years of healthy lung function <jats:italic>versus</jats:italic> their more advantaged counterparts (low educational level: −4.36 [95% CI −7.33; −2.37] for men and −5.14 [−10.32; −2.71] for women; low occupational position: −5.62 [−7.98; −4.90] for men and −4.32 [−13.31; −2.27] for women), after accounting for the risk factors for lung function. By ages 65 and 85, the years lung function lost due to socioeconomic disadvantage decreased by 2 to 4 years, depending on the socioeconomic indicator. Sensitivity analysis using FVC yielded similar results to those using FEV<jats:sub>1</jats:sub>.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusion</jats:title><jats:p>Life-course socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with lower lung function and predicts a significant number of years of lung function loss in adulthood and older ages.</jats:p></jats:sec>


Year of publication: 2020


ISSN: 1399-3003


Alternative Titles