European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 34, Issue 10, pp 979–982 | Cite as

Biography and biological capital

  • Paolo VineisEmail author
  • Michelle Kelly-Irving


At the crossroads between sciences, epidemiology brings together the social and the biological to examine social inequalities in health. The concept of biological capital represents the accumulated history of biological experiences, alongside the other forms of accumulated capital, notably cultural, economic and social. The ability to access the three other forms of individual capital and therefore position in life depends on inherited biological health/skills, epigenetic imprinting and the accumulation of embodied biological changes that make an individual more or less successful in life. We present results from analyses carried out within the Lifepath consortium, showing that the socioeconomic environment, from early life and over the lifecourse, is an important risk factor for health and partly works through its effects on biological mechanisms. We show that socially stratified pre-disease states related to ageing may be examined using biomarkers, and help underline areas and mechanisms to promote healthy ageing.


Life-course epidemiology Biomarkers Allostatic load 



This work was partially funded by the “Lifepath” Grant—European Commission H2020 Grant Number 633666.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Health, MRC Centre for Environment and HealthImperial CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Italian Institute for Genomic MedicineTurinItaly
  3. 3.LEASP, UMR 1027Inserm-Université Toulouse III Paul SabatierToulouseFrance

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