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The contribution of childhood circumstances, current circumstances and health behaviour to educational health differences in early adulthood.

Kestilä L, Martelin T, Rahkonen O, Härkänen T, Koskinen S - BMC Public Health (2009)

Bottom Line: However, there is still a lot to know of the contribution of living conditions in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities and how later environmental and behavioural factors are connected with the effects of earlier circumstances.The outcome measure was poor self-rated health.To develop means for avoiding undesirable trajectories along which poor health and health differences develop, it is necessary to understand the pathways to health inequalities and know how to improve the living conditions of families with children.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Division of Welfare and Health Policies, Living conditions, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Helsinki, Finland. laura.kestila@thl.fi

ABSTRACT

Background: The life course approach emphasises the contribution of circumstances in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities. However, there is still a lot to know of the contribution of living conditions in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities and how later environmental and behavioural factors are connected with the effects of earlier circumstances. This study aims to assess a) how much childhood circumstances, current circumstances and health behaviour contribute to educational health differences and b) to which extent the effect of childhood circumstances on educational health differences is shared with the effects of later living conditions and health behaviour in young adults.

Methods: The data derived from the Health 2000 Survey represent the Finnish young adults aged 18-29 in 2000. The analyses were carried out on 68% (n = 1282) of the sample (N = 1894). The cross-sectional data based on interviews and questionnaires include retrospective information on childhood circumstances. The outcome measure was poor self-rated health.

Results: Poor self-rated health was much more common among subjects with primary education only than among those in the highest educational category (OR 4.69, 95% CI 2.63 to 8.62). Childhood circumstances contributed substantially (24%) to the health differences between these educational groups. Nearly two thirds (63%) of this contribution was shared with behavioural factors adopted by early adulthood, and 17% with current circumstances. Health behaviours, smoking especially, were strongly contributed to educational health differences.

Conclusion: To develop means for avoiding undesirable trajectories along which poor health and health differences develop, it is necessary to understand the pathways to health inequalities and know how to improve the living conditions of families with children.

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Simplified model of the associations between childhood circumstances, education and other adult living conditions, health behaviour and health as operationalised in this study.
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Figure 1: Simplified model of the associations between childhood circumstances, education and other adult living conditions, health behaviour and health as operationalised in this study.

Mentions: A simplified model of the potential associations is presented in Figure 1. This study examines which factors contribute to the association between education and health (A). Health behaviours may mediate the association between education and health: education may promote healthier behavioural patterns (B), which in turn affect health (C). However, the opposite causal order between education and health behaviours is also plausible. Health-damaging behaviours adopted early in adolescence may partly select people to different educational positions (D), and thus explain part of the educational health differences. In the same way, early adult living conditions associated with both education (E and F) and health (G) may explain or mediate part of the association between education and health. Childhood circumstances are taken into account as possible explanatory factors potentially affecting both the respondent's education (H) and health (I). As childhood circumstances are assumed to affect health behaviour (J) and living conditions in early adulthood (K), a part of the contribution of childhood circumstances to educational health differences may be shared with that of the latter two categories of factors.


The contribution of childhood circumstances, current circumstances and health behaviour to educational health differences in early adulthood.

Kestilä L, Martelin T, Rahkonen O, Härkänen T, Koskinen S - BMC Public Health (2009)

Simplified model of the associations between childhood circumstances, education and other adult living conditions, health behaviour and health as operationalised in this study.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2698852&req=5

Figure 1: Simplified model of the associations between childhood circumstances, education and other adult living conditions, health behaviour and health as operationalised in this study.
Mentions: A simplified model of the potential associations is presented in Figure 1. This study examines which factors contribute to the association between education and health (A). Health behaviours may mediate the association between education and health: education may promote healthier behavioural patterns (B), which in turn affect health (C). However, the opposite causal order between education and health behaviours is also plausible. Health-damaging behaviours adopted early in adolescence may partly select people to different educational positions (D), and thus explain part of the educational health differences. In the same way, early adult living conditions associated with both education (E and F) and health (G) may explain or mediate part of the association between education and health. Childhood circumstances are taken into account as possible explanatory factors potentially affecting both the respondent's education (H) and health (I). As childhood circumstances are assumed to affect health behaviour (J) and living conditions in early adulthood (K), a part of the contribution of childhood circumstances to educational health differences may be shared with that of the latter two categories of factors.

Bottom Line: However, there is still a lot to know of the contribution of living conditions in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities and how later environmental and behavioural factors are connected with the effects of earlier circumstances.The outcome measure was poor self-rated health.To develop means for avoiding undesirable trajectories along which poor health and health differences develop, it is necessary to understand the pathways to health inequalities and know how to improve the living conditions of families with children.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Division of Welfare and Health Policies, Living conditions, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Helsinki, Finland. laura.kestila@thl.fi

ABSTRACT

Background: The life course approach emphasises the contribution of circumstances in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities. However, there is still a lot to know of the contribution of living conditions in childhood and youth to adult health inequalities and how later environmental and behavioural factors are connected with the effects of earlier circumstances. This study aims to assess a) how much childhood circumstances, current circumstances and health behaviour contribute to educational health differences and b) to which extent the effect of childhood circumstances on educational health differences is shared with the effects of later living conditions and health behaviour in young adults.

Methods: The data derived from the Health 2000 Survey represent the Finnish young adults aged 18-29 in 2000. The analyses were carried out on 68% (n = 1282) of the sample (N = 1894). The cross-sectional data based on interviews and questionnaires include retrospective information on childhood circumstances. The outcome measure was poor self-rated health.

Results: Poor self-rated health was much more common among subjects with primary education only than among those in the highest educational category (OR 4.69, 95% CI 2.63 to 8.62). Childhood circumstances contributed substantially (24%) to the health differences between these educational groups. Nearly two thirds (63%) of this contribution was shared with behavioural factors adopted by early adulthood, and 17% with current circumstances. Health behaviours, smoking especially, were strongly contributed to educational health differences.

Conclusion: To develop means for avoiding undesirable trajectories along which poor health and health differences develop, it is necessary to understand the pathways to health inequalities and know how to improve the living conditions of families with children.

Show MeSH