Genetic endowments, parental resources and adult health: Evidence from the Young Finns Study

Soc Sci Med. 2017 Sep;188:191-200. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.04.030. Epub 2017 Apr 21.


This paper uses longitudinal survey data linked to administrative registers to examine socioeconomic gradients in health, particularly whether the effects of genetic endowments interact with the socioeconomic resources of the parental household. We find that genetic risk scores contribute to adult health measured by biomarkers. This result is consistent with the findings from genome-wide association studies. Socioeconomic gradients in health differ based on biomarker and resource measures. Family education is negatively related to obesity and the waist-hip ratio, and family income is negatively related to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Parental resources do not modify the effects of genetic endowment on adult health. However, there is evidence for gene-family income interactions for triglyceride levels, particularly among women.

Keywords: Adult health; Biomarkers; Genetic risk scores; Genome-wide association studies; Parental resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / analysis
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / analysis
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Food Quality
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triglycerides / analysis
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides