Lecture 10 - Life course

Lecture 10 - Life course - PART II. What are the causes of...

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PART II. What are the causes of social inequalities in health? Life course: No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from your past…
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LIFE COURSE EPIDEMIOLOGY: DEFINITION AND A BRIEF HISTORY
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A definition: “Life course epidemiology is the study of long-term biological, behavioural, and psychosocial processes that link adult health and disease risk to physical or social exposures acting during gestation, childhood, adolescence, earlier in adult life, or across generations (Kuh & Ben Shlomo 2004: 3)
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Life course: A “new” perspective? An intuitive and biologically plausible perspective with a long history and common to many disciplines, though not always under the same name (developmental processes in psychology or biology, life cycle, etc). Important contributions in epidemiology historically But generally not so relevant in contexts where infectious diseases were predominant: etiology involved unique, direct exposure with often short latency period. Even chronic disease epidemiology originally focused more on adult lifestyles, with the identification, among adults, of the major CHD risk factors of smoking, hypertension and cholesterol
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The long road to life course epidemiology First question about the adult lifestyle perspective came from Forsdahl in the 1970s Correlation between infant mortality rates early in the twentieth century in Norway with CHD mortality rates 70 years later Suggestion that nutritional deficits in early life rendered individuals less able to tolerate particular forms of fat in their adult diet, so early-life social disadvantage might interact with affluence in later life to increase CHD risk. Then, in the 1990s, three strands of research came together The biological programming hypothesis: Organ development in utero and during early infancy determines the maximum functional capacity that an individual can attain and sets the limit to these functions for life.
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This note was uploaded on 03/23/2012 for the course SOCI 309 taught by Professor Smith during the Fall '10 term at McGill.

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Lecture 10 - Life course - PART II. What are the causes of...

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