Socioeconomic inequalities in prevalence and development of multimorbidity across adulthood: A longitudinal analysis of the MRC 1946 National Survey of Health and Development in the UK.

PLoS Medicine
Amal R KhanolkarPraveetha Patalay


We aimed to estimate multimorbidity trajectories and quantify socioeconomic inequalities based on childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP) in the risks and rates of multimorbidity accumulation across adulthood. Participants from the UK 1946 National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) birth cohort study who attended the age 36 years assessment in 1982 and any one of the follow-up assessments at ages 43, 53, 63, and 69 years (N = 3,723, 51% males). Information on 18 health conditions was based on a combination of self-report, biomarkers, health records, and prescribed medications. We estimated multimorbidity trajectories and delineated socioeconomic inequalities (based on childhood and adulthood social class and highest education) in multimorbidity at each age and in longitudinal trajectories. Multimorbidity increased with age (0.7 conditions at 36 years to 3.7 at 69 years). Multimorbidity accumulation was nonlinear, accelerating with age at the rate of 0.08 conditions/year (95% CI 0.07 to 0.09, p < 0.001) at 36 to 43 years to 0.19 conditions/year (95% CI 0.18 to 0.20, p < 0.001) at 63 to 69 years. At all ages, the most socioeconomically disadvantaged had 1.2 to 1.4 times greater number of conditions on average c...Continue Reading


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