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Association of childhood socio-economics with healthy longevity at oldest-old ages in China

Yi Zeng, Duke University
Danan Gu, Duke University

Our multivariate logistic analysis found that receiving adequate medication during sick period or never be sick in childhood significantly reduces risk of being ADL impaired, cognitively impaired, and self-reporting poor health by 18%-31% among Chinese oldest-old. Survival analysis shows that better childhood socioeconomic conditions in general tend to reduce the mortality risk among the oldest-old; but after controlling for 15 confounding factors, the effects become weak and not statistically significant. Based on the cohort data, our FAD analysis indicates that, as compared to no schooling which is an indicator of poor socioeconomic status in childhood, having schooling dramatically increased the probability of survival and healthy survival from ages 84-89 to 92-97, and 100-105. Although the mechanism remains unclear, the present study shows that health care and poverty elimination policies/investments targeting at children can have large and long-term lasting benefits. Further research is warranted, given the limitations of the present study.

Presented in Session 8: Longevity: the influence of kin ties and early-life conditions