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The health transition and mortality among older adults in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia

Mary McEniry, University of Wisconsin at Madison

The dramatic mortality decline of the 1930s-1960s in developing countries may have created a larger pool of adult survivors of poor childhood conditions. If hypotheses regarding the importance of early life exposures on adult health have merit, we would expect to observe that the health of older adults from these cohorts would be unduly influenced by these exposures. We examine this conjecture by selecting a cross-national sample of adults 60 years and older that were born during different stages of the health transition using data from major studies on aging in Latin America (Costa Rica, Mexico, major cities), the Caribbean (Puerto Rico), Asia (China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Taiwan), the US, UK and the Netherlands. We estimate mortality risk and construct Waaler-type surfaces to estimate expected relative mortality risk. If our conjecture has merit we expect to find important mortality differentials according to the timing, pace and reason for the health transition.

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Presented in Session 32: The health transition in the 19th/20th century: historical approaches