Objectives: We assessed the associations of childhood socioeconomic position with cardiovascular disease risk factors (smoking, binge alcohol drinking, and being overweight) and examined the roles of educational attainment and cognitive functioning in these associations.
Methods: Data were derived from a cohort study involving 7184 individuals who were born in Aberdeen, Scotland, between 1950 and 1956; had detailed records on perinatal characteristics, childhood anthropometry, and cognitive functioning; and responded to a mailed questionnaire when they were aged 45 to 52 years.
Results: Strong graded associations existed between social class at birth and smoking, binge drinking, and being overweight. Adjustment for educational attainment completely attenuated these associations. However, after control for adult social class, adult income and other potential confounding or mediating factors, some association remained.
Conclusions: Educational attainment is an important mediating factor in the relation between socioeconomic adversity in childhood and smoking, binge drinking, and being overweight in adulthood.