Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Smock discusses the "new American family" on NPR

Pfeffer and colleagues re-examine impacts of community college attendance

Frey explains the minority-majority remapping of America


Apply for 2-year NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowships that begin September 2015

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Dec 1
Linda Waite

Childhood Socioeconomic Position and Objectively Measured Physical Capability Levels in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Publication Abstract

Birnie, K., R. Cooper, R.M. Martin, D. Kuh, A.A. Sayer, B.E. Alvarado, A. Bayer, K. Christensen, S.I. Cho, C. Cooper, J. Corley, L. Craig, I.J. Deary, P. Demakakos, S. Ebrahim, J. Gallacher, A.J. Gow, D. Gunnell, S. Haas, T. Hemmingsson, H. Inskip, S.N. Jang, K. Noronha, M. Osler, A. Palloni, F. Rasmussen, B. Santos-Eggimann, J. Spagnoli, J. Starr, A. Steptoe, H. Syddall, P. Tynelius, David Weir, L.J. Whalley, M.V. Zunzunegui, Y. Ben-Shlomo, and R. Hardy. 2011. "Childhood Socioeconomic Position and Objectively Measured Physical Capability Levels in Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." Plos One, 6(1): 13.

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 Unpublished results were obtained from study investigators.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.

DOI:e1556410.1371/journal.pone.0015564 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3027621. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next