This project uses multiple birth cohort studies to better understand socioeconomic inequalities in health, how these have changed across time, and how they may be reduced.
Socioeconomic inequalities in health: how have they changed in response to changing policy decisions and economic factors, and how may they be reduced?
Population health / epidemiology
April 2017 – December 2019
Academy of Medical Sciences/the Wellcome Trust, Springboard – Health of the Public in 2040 Award [HOP001\1025].
Socioeconomic circumstances such as our social class or income are thought to be strongly linked to our health. On average, the more socioeconomically advantaged someone is, the better their health. Socioeconomic circumstances seem to be important at different points in life. Regardless of what happens later in life, socioeconomic circumstances in childhood seem to have strong effects on adult health. Contrary to a widely-held myth, these differences are not inevitable or unchangeable. Economic and health policies change across time, and are ultimately expected to either worsen (widen) or improve (narrow) these differences.
Scientists, government departments, and voluntary organisations all tend to agree that inequalities in health should be reduced. To inform this aim, this project will provide new evidence to understand:
This projects uses data from four birth cohorts – three CLS studies, tracking individuals born in 1958, 1970, and 2000, and the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, following a cohort born in 1946.
These studies contain very detailed information on socioeconomic circumstances across life as well as different measures of health. In the past, researchers have tended to use these studies separately. Analysing them together is a very powerful way of understanding how inequalities have changed across time in society.
Phone: 020 7911 5426
David is an epidemiologist with broad interests in population health, and particular interests in health inequalities, obesity and physical activity levels.
David contributes to the scientific development of the 1958 British birth cohort study (National Child Development Study) by planning future data collections, preparing funding applications, and helping to maximise its scientific potential.
Phone: 020 7612 6401
Meg is research associate working on several cross-cohort projects focusing on socioeconomic inequalities in health and physical activity.
Meg competed her PhD at the University of Bristol investigating causal associations of tobacco use and mental health problems using a range of traditional and genetic epidemiological methods. She has an MRes (psychology) and BSs (psychology and biology) from St Andrews University.
Phone: 020 7612 6023
Rebecca Hardy has a BSc in Mathematics and an MSc and PhD in Medical Statistics. She joined the MRC National Survey of Health and Development team as a statistician in 1995 and was appointed Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at UCL in 2012. She became Director of CLOSER in April 2019.
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1958 in Great Britain.
Following the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1970 in Great Britain.
The most recent of Britain's cohort studies, following 19,000 young people born in the UK at the start of the new century.