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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2013

Institute of Anthropology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław, Poland
Institute of Anthropology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław, Poland
Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, USA Department of Kinesiology, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, USA
1Corresponding author. Email:


This study considers the relationship between a cumulative index of biological dysregulation (allostatic load) and several dimensions of socioeconomic status (SES) and lifestyle in adult Polish males. The extent to which lifestyle variables can explain SES variation in allostatic load was also evaluated. Participants were 3887 occupationally active men aged 25–60 years living in cities and villages in the Silesia region of Poland. The allostatic load indicator included eleven markers: % fat (adverse nutritional intake), systolic and diastolic blood pressures (cardiovascular activity), FEV1 (lung function), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (inflammatory processes), glucose and total cholesterol (cardiovascular disease risk), total plasma protein (stress-haemoconcentration), bilirubin, creatinine clearance and alkaline phosphatase activity (hepatic and renal functions). A higher level of completed education, being married and residing in an urban area were associated with lower physiological dysregulation. The association between indicators of SES and allostatic load was not eliminated or attenuated when unhealthy lifestyle variables were included in the model. Smoking status and alcohol consumption played minimal roles in explaining the association between SES and allostatic load; physical activity, however, had a generally protective effect on allostatic load.

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