In a cross sectional study across Europe, researchers have reported that there seems to be no link between the education of the parents and their socio-economic status with the condition o insulin resistance in children. The research that was carried across the countries of Denmark, Estonia, and Portugal, is published in the recent issue of British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Across Europe, children from poor families don't necessarily have worse health than children with more affluent and better-educated parents, say researchers in this week's BMJ.
These findings challenge the widely held view that adverse social circumstances in childhood lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life.
The study involved 3,189 randomly selected schoolchildren from Denmark (one of the richest countries in Europe), and two poorer countries, Estonia and Portugal. Insulin resistance (a pre-cursor of heart disease) was measured for each child.
Among Danish children, those with the most educated and highest earning parents were the least insulin resistant. But the opposite was true for children from Estonia and Portugal - those from the most educated and highest earning parents were the most insulin resistant.
The higher levels of insulin resistance among children of better-educated parents in Estonia and Portugal may be the result of adoption of Western lifestyles, suggest the authors.
These results are an important reminder that socioeconomic inequalities are dynamic and vary over time and between countries, they conclude.
In an accompanying commentary, researchers question whether consumption of Western style "junk" food is creating the pattern of high insulin resistance among children of highly educated parents. Instead they suggest that anomalies like these help point towards gaps in our understanding and warn against too simplistic a view of health inequalities.
Medindia on Insulin Resistance - Further information
Insulin resistance: This condition is also called decreased insulin sensitivity of the body. Insulin sensitivity is the measure for the risk of heart disease. If a person is more insulin sensitive then he has a lower risk of heart problems.
Coronary heart Disease: This is the condition that happens when the oxygen carried to the blood vessels does not reach the heart properly due to choked blood vessels. The blood vessels may have a build up of plaque, and may cause chest pains called angina. The condition of coronary heart disease may lead to heart attacks.
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