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Using a sample of 2090 father and son pairs, the extent of intra- and inter-generational social mobility (migration between social classes) was examined over a 42-year period in a British cohort in relation to height, weight and body mass index (BMI). The mean height difference between the highest and lowest social class decreased from about 4 cm in the fathers' generation to about 3 cm in the sons' generation, indicating a decline in heterogeneity in height between classes. For fathers downward intra-generational social mobility ranged between 11% and 18% while between 16% and 26% were upwardly mobile; for sons 15% were downwardly mobile and 21% upwardly mobile. On average downwardly mobile fathers were shorter by between 0.1 cm and 0.7 cm while upwardly mobile fathers were taller by, on average, 0.6 cm to 1.7 cm. For sons, the downwardly mobile were on average 0.7 cm shorter and the upwardly mobile 0.8 cm taller. For weight and BMI there were no consistent relationships with intra-generational mobility in either the fathers' or sons' generations. Inter-generationally, between 18% and 19% of sons were downwardly mobile and between 39% and 40% were upwardly mobile; the downwardly mobile were shorter by about 0.9 cm and the upwardly taller by between 0.6 cm and 1.2 cm. Sons with higher BMI were more likely to be inter-generationally downwardly mobile.



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