Cumulative Socioeconomic (Dis)Advantage and Metabolic Syndrome among Midlife Women

Jennifer Karas Montez, Case Western Reserve University
Joyce Bromberger, University of Pittsburgh
Siobán D. Harlow, University of Michigan
Howard Kravitz, Rush University
Karen Matthews, University of Pittsburgh

More than 20% of U.S. adults have Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors. Identifying the social determinants of MetS could help prevent it and its health consequences, which are especially high for older women. Using data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, we examine how childhood and adult SES predict the odds and cumulative prevalence of MetS throughout midlife among white and black women. We develop an innovative measure of childhood SES and estimate logistic regression models. We find that childhood SES predicts MetS but women’s educational attainment generally matters more. Moderate childhood SES disadvantage elevates odds of MetS by lowering educational attainment; severe disadvantage may be biologically embedded. Large differences in prevalence of MetS across combinations of childhood and adult SES emerged around age 50 and tripled within two decades Public health strategies should aim to reduce childhood poverty and increase educational attainment.

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Presented in Session 103: Connecting Exposures and Outcomes Across the Life Course