Background. Allostatic load reflects cumulative exposure to stressors throughout lifetime and has been associated with several adverse health outcomes. It is hypothesized that people with low socioeconomic status (SES) are exposed to higher chronic stress and have therefore greater levels of allostatic load. Objective. To assess the association of receiving social transfers and low education with allostatic load. Methods. We included 3'589 participants (1’812 women) aged over 35 years and under retirement age from the population-based CoLaus study (Lausanne, Switzerland, 2003-2006). We computed an allostatic load index aggregating cardiovascular, metabolic, dyslipidemic and inflammatory markers. A novel index additionally including markers of oxidative stress was also examined. Results. Men with low vs high SES were more likely to have higher levels of allostatic load (Odds ratio (OR)=1.93/2.34 for social transfers/education,95%CI from 1.45 to 4.17). The same patterns were observed among women. Associations persisted after controlling for health behaviors and marital status. Conclusions. Low education and receiving social transfers independently and cumulatively predict high allostatic load and dysregulation of several homeostatic systems in a Swiss population-based study. Participants with low SES are at higher risk of oxidative stress, which may justify its inclusion as a separate component of allostatic load.
NICOD, E., STRINGHINI, S., MARQUES-VIDAL, P., PACCAUD, F., WAEBER, G. and LAMIRAUD, K. (2014). Association of education and receiving social transfers with allostatic load in the Swiss population-based CoLaus study. ESSEC Business School.