Socioeconomic status in one's childhood predicts offspring cardiovascular risk

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Objective: To test whether effects of socioeconomic environments can persist across generations, we examined whether parents' childhood socioeconomic status (SES) could predict blood pressure (BP) trajectories in their youth across a 12-month study period and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels at one year follow-up. Methods: BP was assessed in 88 healthy youth (M age=13 ± 2.4) at three study visits, each 6. months apart. CRP was also assessed in youth at baseline and one year follow-up. Parents reported on current and their own childhood SES (education and crowding). Results: If parents' childhood SES was lower, their children displayed increasing SBP and CRP over the 12-month period, or conversely, the higher parents' childhood SES, the greater the decrease in SBP and CRP in their youth over time. These effects persisted even after controlling for current SES. A number of other factors, including child health behaviors, parent psychosocial characteristics, general family functioning, and parent physiology could not explain these effects. Conclusion: Our study suggests that the SES environment parents grow up in may influence physical health across generations, here, SBP and CRP in their children, and hence that intergenerational histories are important to consider in predicting cardiovascular health in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1331
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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