The relationship of early-life adversity with adulthood weight and cardiometabolic health status in the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development

Evidence linking early-life adversity with an adverse cardiometabolic profile in adulthood is equivocal. This study investigates early-life adversity in relation to weight and cardiometabolic health status at age 60-64 years.
We included 1,059 individuals from the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD). Data on adversity between ages 0-15 years were used to create a cumulative childhood psychosocial adversity score and a socioeconomic adversity score. Cardiometabolic and weight/height data collected at ages 60-64 years were used to create four groups: metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW), metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MUNW), metabolically healthy overweight/obese (MHO), and metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese (MUO). Associations between the two exposure scores and weight/health status were examined using multinomial logistic regression, with adjustment for sex and age at the outcome visit.
62% of normal weight individuals were metabolically healthy, whereas only 34% of overweight/obese individuals were metabolically healthy. In a mutually adjusted model including both exposure scores, a psychosocial score of ≥ 3 (compared to 0) was associated with increased risk of being metabolically unhealthy (compared to healthy) in both normal weight adults (RR 2.49; 95% CI 0.87, 7.13) and overweight/obese adults (1.87; 0.96, 3.61). However, the socioeconomic adversity score was more strongly related to metabolic health status in overweight/obese adults (1.60; 0.98, 2.60) than normal weight adults (0.95; 0.46, 1.96).
Independently of socioeconomic adversity, psychosocial adversity in childhood may be associated with a poor cardiometabolic health profile, in both normal weight and overweight/obese adults.