Chronic inflammation plays a significant role in the association between socioeconomic position and health inequalities

The relationship between socioeconomic disadvantage and health inequalities lies at the core of Lifepath research. A growing amount of evidence highlights the role of chronic inflammation in this connection, as confirmed by two recent studies.

A study published on Scientific Reports, conducted on 18,349 individuals from Britain, Ireland, Portugal and Switzerland, has shown that socioeconomic position could affect biological health by acting on the inflammation pathway. Researchers used the concentration of C-reactive protein as a marker for chronic inflammation and found that between-country differences in overall health and mortality may be better explained by variation in income inequality than by national income and wealth. Mean inflammation levels are highest in Portugal, the country with the highest income inequality and lowest in Switzerland, the lower income inequality country.

Another study – published on Nature Communications– has shown that socioeconomic disadvantage in young adulthood is associated with later life inflammation. The research was conducted on 23,008 individuals from Britain, Italy and Switzerland and also revealed a significant association between low educational attainment and high inflammation levels in adulthood, while body-mass index stands out as an important intermediate factor between socioeconomic condition and inflammation.

Publication date: 
Monday, February 18, 2019