Poor kids twice as likely to suffer from arthritis, hypertension in adulthood
(Medical Xpress)—The tentacles of childhood poverty reach even further than previously thought, a new Cornell study finds.
Children who are poor from the time they are born through age two are twice as likely to suffer from arthritis and high blood pressure when they grow up. Those diseases hit them young and hard, affecting them as early as age 30 and causing them to earn less per year and per hour and work fewer hours than their peers.
"That being poor when you are in utero doubles your risk for early onset of these diseases is shocking. You shouldn't have arthritis or hypertension when you're 30," said the lead author of the study, Kathleen Ziol-Guest, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management.
The health of the adults in the study differed markedly depending on their family's income between the prenatal year and the second year of life, Ziol-Guest and her colleagues found. Children from low-income families reported diagnoses of immune-related diseases such as arthritis and hypertension when they became adults at twice the rate as their higher-income peers. Moreover, those diseases diminished their work capacity: They had lower annual earnings ($21,600 versus $53,400), fewer annual work hours (1,460 versus 1,877) and smaller hourly earnings ($13.60 versus $26.50).
Conversely, raising the average annual earnings of a low-income child's family by $5,000 over a four-year interval would result in a 5 percent reduction in the risks of adult arthritis and high blood pressure, Ziol-Guest said. "Although $20,000 constitutes a sizeable income increase, the reductions in risk for both conditions (one-quarter for hypertension and close to one-half for arthritis) are also quite substantial, given the 19 percent and 11 percent rates, respectively, of hypertension and arthritis among those adults who were poor in early childhood," she said.
Ziol-Guest wrote the study, "Early childhood poverty, immune-mediated disease processes and adult productivity," with Greg Duncan of the University of California-Irvine, Ariel Kalil of the University of Chicago and W. Thomas Boyce of the University of British Columbia.
The findings support the hypothesis that children have a sensitive period during which social processes in the environment become embedded in their biology and cause changes in adulthood. Previous studies suggest that prolonged stress induces a tendency toward chronic inflammation in the body that results in chronic disease, Ziol-Guest and her colleagues said.
The study points to the importance of policies that increase financial resources available to families with young children, Ziol-Guest said. "Our findings indicate that the incomes of the most economically disadvantaged families should be of greatest concern, particularly during the years when these families have young children."
Such programs as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and child tax credits could help boost the income of families during that critical period, Ziol-Guest said. "Targeting these or similar programs to families with very young children may offer the largest benefit for health and well-being in later life and give us more bang for our buck in an era of rapidly rising health care costs."
The researchers drew their data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), which has followed a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 families and their children since 1968. Ziol-Guest and her colleagues analyzed data on 1,070 people born into the PSID households 1968-75 who reported information on their health and labor productivity ages 30-41.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Provided by Cornell University
- Children's health, access to care differ by parents' immigrant status Sep 11, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Federal welfare programs can have negative effects on children's cognitive scores Jun 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- For poorer children, living in a high-cost area hurts development Aug 21, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Study finds many low-income families depend on tax credit program Oct 21, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Early origins of chronic mid-life diseases: Low birth weight and poverty have long-term effects Oct 21, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Bed sharing with parents is linked to a fivefold increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), even when the parents are non-smokers and the mother has not been drinking alcohol and does not use illegal drugs, according ...
Health 7 hours ago | 1.3 / 5 (3) | 0
Doctors tell people with a heart-zapping device in their chests to give up intense sports like basketball and soccer in favor of golf or bowling. But lots of patients ignore that advice—and now new research is challenging ...
Health 8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Little is known about the effect of physical education (PE) on child weight, but a new study from Cornell University finds that increasing the amount of time that elementary schoolchildren spent in gym class reduces the probability ...
Health 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Living near a major roadway during the prenatal period is associated with an increased risk of respiratory infection developing in children by the age of 3, according to a new study from researchers in Boston.
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
People who are consistently exposed to both wood smoke and tobacco smoke are at a greater risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and for experiencing more frequent and severe symptoms of the disease, ...
Health 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Early-life exposure to traffic-related air pollution was significantly associated with higher hyperactivity scores at age 7, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital ...
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A research team, led by Jeremy Barr, a biology post-doctoral fellow, unveils a new immune system that protects humans and animals from infection.
7 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 3 |
Bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin are also commonly resistant to antimicrobial substances made by the human body, according to a study in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microb ...
2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (11) | 2 |
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer's disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons ...
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...
11 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 2 |