HealthDay News — Socioeconomic position (SEP) in childhood is associated with carotid intima media thickness (IMT), according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Richard S. Liu, MBBS, from the University of Melbourne in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues obtained data from 1477 families participating in the Child Health CheckPoint study to examine the correlation between neighborhood and family SEP, measured biennially, and carotid IMT at ages 11 to 12 years.

In univariable models, the researchers observed a cross-sectional association for disadvantaged family and neighborhood SEP with thicker maximum carotid IMT. In multivariable analysis, associations with family SEP were not attenuated; correlations with neighborhood SEP were attenuated in models adjusted for family SEP. 

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After adjustment for age, sex, pubertal status, passive smoking exposure, body mass index, blood pressure, and arterial lumen diameter, the difference in maximum carotid IMT was 10.7 µm between the highest and lowest family SEP quartile measured at ages 10 to 11 years. Family SEP measured as early as 2 to 3 years correlated with maximum carotid IMT at ages 11 to 12 years, in longitudinal analyses (difference between highest and lowest quartile, 8.5 µm). There was no correlation between SEP and mean carotid IMT.

“We report a robust association between lower SEP in early childhood and carotid IMT in mid-childhood,” the authors write. “Further investigation of mechanisms may inform pediatric cardiovascular risk assessment and prevention strategies.”

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Liu RS, Mensah FK, Carlin J. Socioeconomic position is associated with carotid intima-media thickness in mid-childhood: the longitudinal study of Australian children. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2017;6:e005925