Intended for healthcare professionals


Socioeconomic status should be seen alongside smoking as mortality risk, say experts

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 27 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1450
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The impact of socioeconomic circumstances on mortality is comparable to that of smoking, alcohol, and obesity as an independent risk factor, leading experts have concluded.1

The Lifepath project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 collaborative, assessed evidence from more than 50 epidemiological and biological studies on health inequalities to investigate the biology behind social differences in healthy ageing. The results were presented at the project’s final meeting in Geneva on 26-27 March and helped inform guidance2 to policy makers on how health, economic, and social policies should be developed.

One of the key strands of the initiative, which brought together leading European experts on health inequalities, was to measure for the first time how much a person’s socioeconomic position directly affects worsening of health …

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