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Poverty Grown Up: How Childhood Socioeconomic Status Impacts Adult Health

Conroy, Kathleen MD; Sandel, Megan MD, MPH; Zuckerman, Barry MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February-March 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 154-160
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181c21a1b
Review Article

Socioeconomic status and health status are directly related across the world. Children with low-socioeconomic status not only experience greater health problems in childhood but also aspects of their socioeconomic status become biologically incorporated through both critical periods of development and cumulative effects, leading to poor health outcomes as adults. We explore 3 main influences related to child's socioeconomic status that impact long-term health: the material environment, the social environment, and the structural or community environment. These influences illustrate the importance of clinical innovations, health services research, and public policies that address the socioeconomic determinants of these distal health outcomes.

From the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Received March 3, 2009; accepted July 30, 2009.

Address for reprints: Kathleen Conroy, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, 88 E. Newton Street, Vose Hall 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02118; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.