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Deprived Kids Have Higher Heart Disease Risk

An international study found children who grow up in deprived households have a higher risk of heart disease as adults.
The study, using data from Finland and published in JAMA Pediatrics journal, found kids from low socio-economic backgrounds had reduced heart health 31 years on.
The researchers, including a team from the University of Tasmania, were quick to stress that while there was a link between the two, a deprived upbringing wasn’t a cause of heart disease in later life.

How was the discovery made?

The research team looked at data on 1,871 children from low socio-economic families, aged between three and 18. Their left ventricular mass and diastolic function was then measured – more than 30 years after the original data was collected. 

More compelling evidence

The Finnish study echoes the results of the UK’s first study on the effects of deprivation on heart health back in 1998.
At the time, Professor George Davey Smith from the National Heart Forum (NHF) said:
“There is a strong correlation between deprivation and risk of coronary heart disease.”
A BBC report at the time said that “Social deprivation at all stages of life can affect health, it said, and called for a national campaign to teach children how to live more healthy lifestyles. [The study] said lack of money led to unhealthy lifestyles and government measures such as the provision of free healthy school dinners were needed if today's deprived children are to live as long as their well-off counterparts.”

What else can be done to improve heart health in communities?

Going back to the latest study, the researchers believe low socio-economic families need more support.
“These findings emphasise that approaches of cardiovascular disease prevention must be directed also to the family environment,” the researchers wrote.
“In particular, support for families with low socio-economic status may pay off in sustaining health to later life.”

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