Multilevel socioeconomic differentials in allostatic load among Chinese adults

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Capitalizing on the biomarker data from the 2009 wave of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), this study examines the extent to which multilevel socioeconomic status (SES) gets “under the skin” to affect individuals’ health, measured by allostatic load (AL). Multilevel analyses suggest that in the context of China's socioeconomic and health transitions, high income, prestigious but sedentary occupations, and high level of urbanization were independently associated with higher AL scores, or increased health risks of physiological dysfunction in cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammation, and urinary systems. Higher educational attainment was related to a decrease in AL, but the significant difference was only observed among the college-educated compared to lower levels of education.HIGHLIGHTSOccupational prestige was positively associated with allostatic load.Household income was positively associated with allostatic load.Community-level urbanization was positively associated with allostatic load.Education was protective against allostatic load but only for college graduates.

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