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Early illnesses affect prospects

People who are ill in childhood are more likely to be passed over for promotion later in life, new research suggests.

Those who spent long periods in hospital when they were younger, or who had a low birth weight, may have fewer prospects for advancing their career.

The study, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), found people who were ill in childhood were also more likely to be at risk of heart disease by middle age.

The study suggests that early health problems and lower birth weight can predict socio-economic status in adulthood, regardless of the socio-economic status into which people are born.

Experts writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology analysed data for more than 8,300 members of the UK civil service between 1991 and 2004.

They found that people doing well in their career were less likely to have suffered illness resulting in a hospital stay as a child, and were more likely to have been heavier babies.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

American Journal of Epidemiology