Epidemiology and Biostatistic Unit, INRS-Institut Armand Frappier
Saturday Afternoon, Galleria South
For years, researchers have been on the lookout for ways and means to study the interaction between nature and nurture. An individual’s biological resources are influenced by their genetic endowment, their pre-natal and post-natal development and their social and physical environment in early life. Adversity in childhood becomes ‘embodied’ at an early age, its full impact manifesting later in life. For example, socioeconomic circumstances influence foetal development and growth during childhood. Poor foetal development and delayed linear growth are associated with increased mortality. A variable commonly used in social sciences and social epidemiology to capture biological fitness is height. In this presentation, we will review how height has been used in social epidemiology and illustrate that use with an example. We interviewed and examined 652 13-years old Brazilian adolescents to investigate whether or not height was associated with dental caries experience in Brazilian adolescents. Our hypothesis was that taller children had better biological resources and would have better oral health signified by lower levels of dental caries measured by decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) index. Information on anthropometric measures, indicator of socioeconomic position, family environment, and health behaviour was also collected. After dichotomizing the outcome measure into high and low caries levels, logistic models were used in a series of simple and multiple regressions. Adjusted results showed that taller adolescents were less likely to experience high levels of caries. In conclusion, there is a relationship between height and dental caries experience in this sample of Brazilian adolescents.