Like Parent, Like Child: Intergenerational Patterns of Cardiovascular Risk Factors at Midlife.
PURPOSE: We aimed to assess the prevalence of four cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol intake, and cigarette smoking) for parents and their adult children at the same approximate midlife age. We also evaluated associations of parents' cardiovascular risk factors, childhood health exposures, and social contexts (i.e., family, school, and neighborhood) during adolescence with adult children's cardiovascular health at midlife. METHODS: We used data from respondents at Wave V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health who had corresponding parent (mostly mothers) data from Wave I. The final sample included 10,466 adult children with a mean age of 37.8 years. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were estimated, accounting for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health sampling design. RESULTS: At similar ages (i.e., 35-45 years) to their parents, adult children had higher rates of excessive drinking and obesity than their parents, lower rates of diabetes, and similar rates of smoking. Adult children's health largely converged and correlated with their parents' health at similar ages. Cardiovascular risks for adult children were also significantly associated with their childhood health exposures and social contexts during adolescence. Some associations varied with respect to the health status of parents at Wave I. CONCLUSIONS: The cardiovascular risk of parents at midlife is strongly associated with the cardiovascular risk of their adult children at midlife. The status of parents' health during adolescence can also modify the significance and magnitude of associations between childhood health exposures or adolescent social contexts and adult children's cardiovascular risk factors.
Jensen, TM; Duke, NN; Harris, KM; Hotz, VJ; Perreira, KM
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