Effect of age and sex on the relationship between different socioeconomic indices and self-reported functional health in the EPIC-Norfolk population-based study

Phyo K. Myint, Robert N. Luben, Paul G. Surtees, Nicholas W. J. Wainwright, Sheila A. Bingham, Nicholas J. Wareham, Kay-Tee Khaw

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Background: The relationship between different social-economic indices and physical and mental functional health of older people compared with younger people is unclear.

Objective: To examine the effect of age and sex on the relationship between various social-economic indices and self-reported functional health.

Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 19,088 participants of European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk, UK, ages 40–79 years at baseline. The independent relationships between three different socioeconomic indices; occupational social class, education and residential area deprivation, and functional health measured by anglicized version of 36-item short form questionnaire (UK SF-36), were compared between older (≥65 years) and younger (<65 years) men and women.

Results: Residential area deprivation was significantly associated with poor physical and mental functional health independent of social class and education, and consistent in both age groups in men and women. A low level of education in younger men and being in low social class in younger women were associated with poorer physical functional health compared with their respective older counterparts. Social class had a significantly greater effect in older women compared with younger women.

Conclusion: Commonly used socioeconomic indices have differing associations with functional health depending the age and sex of an individual. Residential area deprivation predicts poor functional health in all age and sex groups. This may have implications for health policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-297
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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