Effects of socioeconomic position and social mobility on linear growth from early childhood until adolescence

ABSTRACT: Objective: To assess the effect of socioeconomic position (SEP) in childhood and social mobility on linear growth through adolescence in a population-based cohort. Methods: Children born in Cuiabá-MT, central-western Brazil, were evaluated during 1994 - 1999. They were first assessed during 1999 - 2000 (0 - 5 years) and again during 2009 - 2011 (10 - 17 years), and their height-for-age was evaluated during these two periods.Awealth index was used to classify the SEP of each child’s family as low, medium, or high. Social mobility was categorized as upward mobility or no upward mobility. Linear mixed models were used. Results: We evaluated 1,716 children (71.4% of baseline) after 10 years, and 60.6% of the families showed upward mobility, with a higher percentage among the lowest economic classes. A higher height-for-age was also observed among those from families with a high SEP both in childhood (low SEP= -0.35 z-score; high SEP= 0.15 z-score, p < 0.01) and adolescence (low SEP= -0.01 z-score; high SEP= 0.45 z-score, p < 0.01), whereas upward mobility did not affect their linear growth. Conclusion: Expressive social mobility was observed, but SEP in childhood and social mobility did not greatly influence linear growth through childhood in this central-western Brazilian cohort.