Early-life circumstances, health behavior profiles, and later-life health in Great Britain
Journal of Aging and Health
Objectives: Drawing on UK Household Longitudinal Study data, this study assessed a pathway from early-life disadvantage to suboptimal later-life health via health behavior.
Methods: Latent class analysis was used to identify distinct smoking, nutrition, alcohol, and physical activity health behavior profiles. Mediation analyses were performed to assess indirect effects of early-life disadvantage via health behavior on allostatic load, an objective measure of physiological wear and tear.
Results: Four health behavior profiles were identified:
(1) broadly healthy and high alcohol consumption,
(2) low smoking and alcohol consumption, healthy nutrition, and physically inactive,
(3) broadly unhealthy and low alcohol consumption, and
(4) broadly moderately unhealthy and high alcohol consumption.
Having grown up in a higher socioeconomic position family was associated with lower later-life allostatic load. This was partly attributable to health behavioral differences. Discussion: Growing up under disadvantageous socioeconomic circumstances may initiate a chain of risk by predisposing people to health behavior profiles associated with poorer later-life health.