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Journal Article

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

Authors

Publication date

2017

Summary

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.

Published in

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Volume and page numbers

71 , 1005 -1013

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-209105

ISSN

16

Subjects

Economics, Household Economics, Debt: Indebtedness, Well Being, Health, Finance, and Biology

Notes

© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.; Open Access; This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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