Since our knowledge of the associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) over the life course and inflammatory and metabolic markers, which are excellent predictors of cardiovascular disease, remains limited, we examined the association between social mobility over the life course and these markers at older ages.Methods
Our study used cross-sectionally collected data from 6142 participants aged 50 years and older from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We estimated linear and logistic models of the associations between social mobility, using information on childhood and adult SEP, C reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Our models were gradually adjusted for age, sex, chronic diseases, obesity, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking status and depressive symptoms.Results
Participants who experienced upward social mobility had higher CRP, fibrinogen and HbA1c levels compared with those who had stable high SEP over the life course, but lower compared with those who experienced downward social mobility or had stable low SEP. They also had lower HDL levels compared with those who had stable high SEP or downwardly mobile. Adjustment for covariates partially explained the associations between social mobility and CRP and HDL, and fully explained those between social mobility and fibrinogen and HbA1c.Conclusions
Social mobility is associated with inflammatory and metabolic markers at older ages with some of the observed associations persisting after accounting for covariates. Upward social mobility appears to partially reverse the damaging effect of childhood social disadvantage on inflammatory profiles in older ages.