Objectives: This study sought to demonstrate life-course influences on cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods: Data were derived from a prospective observational study in which the main outcome measure was death resulting from CVD.
Results: Combining 4 socioeconomic and behavioral risk indicators into a measure of life-course exposure produced 5 groups whose relative risks of CVD mortality ranged from 1.00 (the group with the most favorable life-course exposures) to 4.55 (the group with the least favorable life-course exposures). If the entire study population had had the CVD mortality risk of the subsample with the most favorable risk factor profile, approximately two thirds of cardiovascular deaths would not have occurred.
Conclusions: CVD risk is influenced in a cumulative fashion by socioeconomic and behavioral factors acting throughout the life course.