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Using cross-sectional data from The Maastricht Study, we examined the association of socioeconomic conditions in early life with prediabetes and T2DM in adulthood. We also examined potential mediating pathways via both adulthood socioeconomic conditions and adult BMI and health behaviours.
Of the 3263 participants (aged 40–75 years), 493 had prediabetes and 906 were diagnosed with T2DM. By using logistic regression analyses, the associations and possible mediating pathways were examined.
Participants with low early life socioeconomic conditions had a 1.56 times higher odds of prediabetes (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.21-2.02) and a 1.61 times higher odds of T2DM (95% CI = 1.31-1.99). The relation between low early life socioeconomic conditions and prediabetes was independent of current socioeconomic conditions (OR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.05-1.80), whereas the relation with T2DM was not independent of current socioeconomic conditions (OR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.87-1.37). BMI party mediated the association between early life socioeconomic conditions and prediabetes.
Socioeconomic inequalities starting in early life were associated with diabetes-related outcomes in adulthood and suggest the usefulness of early life interventions aimed at tackling these inequalities.