Economic insecurity during the Great Recession and metabolic, inflammatory and liver function biomarkers: analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Niedzwiedz, C. L., Katikireddi, S. V. , Reeves, A., McKee, M. and Stuckler, D. (2017) Economic insecurity during the Great Recession and metabolic, inflammatory and liver function biomarkers: analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71(10), pp. 1005-1013. (doi:10.1136/jech-2017-209105) (PMID:28855264)

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Abstract

Background: Economic insecurity correlates with adverse health outcomes, but the biological pathways involved are not well understood. We examine how changes in economic insecurity relate to metabolic, inflammatory and liver function biomarkers. Methods: Blood analyte data were taken from 6520 individuals (aged 25–59 years) participating in Understanding Society. Economic insecurity was measured using an indicator of subjective financial strain and by asking participants whether they had missed any bill, council tax, rent or mortgage payments in the past year. We investigated longitudinal changes in economic insecurity (remained secure, increase in economic insecurity, decrease in economic insecurity, remained insecure) and the accumulation of economic insecurity. Linear regression models were calculated for nine (logged) biomarker outcomes related to metabolic, inflammatory, liver and kidney function (as falsification tests), adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Compared with those who remained economically stable, people who experienced consistent economic insecurity (using both measures) had worsened levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides, C reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen and glycated haemoglobin. Increased economic insecurity was associated with adverse levels of HDL-cholesterol (0.955, 95% CI 0.929 to 0.982), triglycerides (1.077, 95% CI 1.018 to 1.139) and CRP (1.114, 95% CI 1.012 to 1.227), using the measure of financial strain. Results for the other measure were generally consistent, apart from the higher levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase observed among those experiencing persistent insecurity (1.200, 95% CI 1.110 to 1.297). Conclusion: Economic insecurity is associated with adverse metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers (particularly HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and CRP), heightening risk for a range of health conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McKee, Mr Martin and Katikireddi, Dr Srinivasa
Authors: Niedzwiedz, C. L., Katikireddi, S. V., Reeves, A., McKee, M., and Stuckler, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0143-005X
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:28 August 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2017
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU