Family socioeconomic position at birth and future cardiovascular disease risk: findings from the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s cohort study

Am J Public Health. 2006 Jul;96(7):1271-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.066290. Epub 2006 May 30.


Objectives: We assessed the association of father's social class, recorded at the time of birth, with coronary heart disease and stroke in a British cohort of 11106 individuals born in the 1950s.

Methods: Survival analysis was used to relate social class at birth to the occurrence of either fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or stroke.

Results: Rates of coronary heart disease and stroke increased across the social class distribution from highest to lowest, and patterns of association were similar for the 2 outcomes. The gender-adjusted hazard ratio of experiencing either coronary heart disease or stroke comparing the manual and nonmanual social class categories was 1.52 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.14, 2.02). This ratio fell to 1.41 (95% CI = 1.05, 1.88) after adjustment for indicators of intrauterine and childhood growth. Further adjustment for educational attainment reduced the ratio to 1.28 (95% CI=0.94, 1.75).

Conclusions: We found that social class at birth was associated with risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease among individuals born in the 1950s, a period of relative prosperity and after the introduction of the welfare state in Britain. This relation appeared to be mediated in part through educational attainment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Databases as Topic
  • Fathers / classification*
  • Fathers / education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Occupations / economics
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Survival Analysis