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Socioeconomic status and pulmonary function, transition from childhood to adulthood: cross-sectional results from the polish part of the HAPIEE study

10 Jan 2019


Previous studies have reported inverse associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and lung function, but less is known about whether pulmonary function is affected by SES changes. We aimed to describe the relationship of changes of SES between childhood and adulthood with pulmonary function.


Cross-sectional study.


The study sample included 4104 men and women, aged 45–69 years, residents of Krakow, participating in the Polish part of the Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial Factors in Eastern Europe Project.

Main outcome

Forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were assessed by the standardised spirometry procedure. Participants were classified into three categories of SES (low, moderate or high) based on information on parent’s education, housing standard during childhood, own education, employment status, household amenities and financial status.


The adjusted difference in mean FVC between persons with low and high adulthood SES was 100 mL (p=0.005) in men and 100 mL (p<0.001) in women; the differences in mean FEV1 were 103 mL (p<0.001) and 80 mL (p<0.001), respectively. Upward social mobility and moderate or high SES at both childhood and adulthood were related to significantly higher FEV1 and FVC compared with low SES at both childhood and adulthood or downward social mobility.


Low SES over a life course was associated with the lowest lung function. Downward social mobility was associated with a poorer pulmonary function, while upward mobility or life course and moderate or high SES were associated with a better pulmonary function.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open