The inclusion of biomarkers in social surveys such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) has the potential to answer many elusive questions in social science and public health, including the much-studied relationship between socioeconomic status and health. This article reviews the potential inclusion of biomarkers of cardiovascular and metabolic risk in the PSID. We first discuss the considerable analytical benefits of adding these biomarkers to the PSID, including the exploration of life course hypotheses and the potential to test causal relationships between the social environment and biological systems. Next, we review evidence on the reliability of self-reports of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, concluding that the potential bias from relying on self-reports may be substantial. Based on evidence of biological importance as well as practical considerations of ease of in-home collection, our first tier of recommended biomarkers includes measured height, weight, waist and hip circumference, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), C-reactive protein (CRP), and cystatin C. Additional markers of secondary priority are also discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics