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Adult health and early childhood conditions: analysis of a new data set

Alberto Palloni, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Mary McEniry, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Ana Luisa Davila, University of Puerto Rico
Alberto Garcia, University of Puerto Rico
Melba Sanchez, University of Puerto Rico

We use new data from recent survey conducted with a nationally representative sample of about 4,500 elderly Puerto Ricans and their surviving spouses (PREHCO). We investigate age patterns of self-reported health status, ADL and IADL, obesity, and self reported diabetes and heart disease. We use information on diseases experienced in early childhood and objective anthropometric measures to assess BMI and hip-to-waste ratios. We construct Waaler type surfaces to chart the relation between anthropometric measures, and health status measured by self reported health and self-reported chronic conditions, in particular heart disease and diabetes. We show that short knee-height increases the risk of adult diabetes (and obesity) and that, surprisingly, its effects are as high as those associated with obesity. Similarly, and as expected, we find that having experienced rheumatic fever multiplies the relative risk of heart disease at older ages.

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Presented in Session 13: The future of the elderly