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Socioeconomic inequalities in work and health

PhD ceremony:S.K.R. (Sander) van Zon
When:November 15, 2017
Supervisors:prof. dr. S.A. (Menno) Reijneveld, prof. dr. U. (Ute) Bultmann
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Socioeconomic inequalities in work and health

This thesis shows that the presence and magnitude of socioeconomic inequalities in work and health differ across age groups. The same holds true for the interaction effect of low education and poor health on employment status. This suggests that policies aiming to reduce socioeconomic inequalities should be age-specific. This thesis also shows that people with a lower socioeconomic position have a larger increase of functional limitations prior to retirement. Differentiating retirement policies by socioeconomic position might therefore be necessary to sustainably extend the working lives of the general population. We further found suggestive evidence that low socioeconomic position and transgenerational risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus exacerbate each other’s effect on the prevalence of the disease. Regarding this, family history seems to be a better indicator for type 2 diabetes mellitus than a genetic risk score. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus should thus be particularly targeted on people with a low socioeconomic position and a family history of this disease. Overall, addressing low socioeconomic position should be a major issue in public policies on health and working life, and age and transgenerational risk factors should be taken into account in these policies to reach the most vulnerable individuals. Finally, this thesis shows that baseline participation rates in large population-based biobank studies are highest for studies with a pro-active approach regarding recruitment and measurements. This insight may help future studies achieve maximum value for invested resources and may contribute to the further study of life course effects.