Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine



+44 (0)20 7594 3328p.elliott Website




Miss Jennifer Wells +44 (0)20 7594 3328




154Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus






BibTex format

author = {Karimi, M and Castagne, R and Delpierre, C and Albertus, G and Berger, E and Vineis, P and Kumari, M and Kelly-Irving, M and Chadeau, M},
doi = {10.1136/jech-2018-212010},
journal = {Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health},
pages = {693--702},
title = {Early-life inequalities and biological ageing: A multi-system biological health score approach in the Understanding Society study},
url = {},
volume = {73},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Social position is known to play a role in the quality of ageing, notably through the stimulation/dysregulation of key physiological systems in response to external stresses. Using data from one wave of the Understanding Society panel study including 9,088 participants, we defined, as an extension of the Allostatic Load, a synthetic biological health score (BHS) capturing the wear-and-tear of four physiological systems (endocrine, inflammatory, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems), and two organs (liver and kidney). We used 16 established blood-derived biomarkers of these systems to calculate the BHS and explored the relative contribution of socio-economic position to the BHS and its main components across age groups.We identified a systematic decreasing education-related gradient of the BHS (p<0.001) leading to lower biological risk in participants with longer education. Education-related differences in the BHS were detected early in life, and were not attributable to lifestyle and behavioural factors. We found a consistent contribution of the inflammatory and metabolic systems to the overall score throughout from early adulthood onwards, while the contribution of the other four systems seem to vary across age groups and gender. Our findings highlight the social-to-biological processes ultimately leading to health inequalities, and suggest that such disparities can already be detected in the 20-40 years old age group and cannot be fully explained by lifestyle and behavioural factors. This may define early adulthood social condition as a precursor to accelerated biological ageing and as an important target for public health policies.
AU - Karimi,M
AU - Castagne,R
AU - Delpierre,C
AU - Albertus,G
AU - Berger,E
AU - Vineis,P
AU - Kumari,M
AU - Kelly-Irving,M
AU - Chadeau,M
DO - 10.1136/jech-2018-212010
EP - 702
PY - 2019///
SN - 0143-005X
SP - 693
TI - Early-life inequalities and biological ageing: A multi-system biological health score approach in the Understanding Society study
T2 - Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 73
ER -