Socioeconomic status and health

A recent study published in the Lancet journal has highlighted the contribution of socioeconomic status (SES) to premature mortality.

The study analysed 48 prospective cohort studies individually and then pooled the results together as a meta-analysis. Socioeconomic status (SES) was based on occupational position and was classified as high (higher professionals, managers, higher clerical, services and sales workers), intermediate (small employers and self-employed, farmers, lower supervisors and technicians) or low (lower clerical, services and sales workers, skilled workers, semi-skilled and unskilled workers). Over 1.7 million individuals were included in the study from Europe, the United States of America and Australia.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Participants with a low SES had a higher mortality risk compared to those with a higher SES. This finding was true for both men and women.
  • Low SES was associated with 2.1 years of life lost (YLL)1 between 40 and 85 years.

As part of the study researchers compared the results with mortality from 7 major risk factors identified by the World Health Organisation2 and found that SES had a similar impact on mortality to these factors.


1 Years of life lost (YLL): YLL is the years of life lost due to premature mortality.

2 The World Health Organisation aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025. As part of this 7 risk factors for premature death are targeted – harmful alcohol use, insufficient physical activity, smoking, high blood pressure, salt intake, diabetes and obesity.


Posted: 08/02/2017 12:54:08 by Anne Parle
Filed under: Disease, Mortality, Social status, Socioeconomic status


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