Early Life Environments and Frailty in Old Age among Chinese Older Adults

31 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2019

See all articles by Yaxi Li

Yaxi Li

Duke Kunshan University

Qian-Li Xue

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Michelle Odden

Stanford University

Xi Chen

Department of Health Policy and Management; Yale University - Department of Economics; Yale University - Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies; IZA

Chenkai WU

Duke Kunshan University

Abstract

Exposures in childhood and adolescence may impact the development of diseases and symptoms in late life. However, evidence from low- and middle-income countries is scarce. In this study, we examined the association of early life risk factors with frailty among older adults using a large, nationally representative cohort of community-dwelling Chinese sample. 6,806 participants aged ≥60 years from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study were included. We measured 13 risk factors in childhood or adolescence through self-reports, encompassing six dimensions (education, family economic status, nutritional status, domestic violence, neighborhood, and health). We used multinomial regression models to examine the association between risk factors and frailty and further calculated the absolute risk difference for the statistically significant factors. Results show that worse health condition in childhood and unfavorable childhood and adolescent socioeconomic status as measured by educational attainment and neighborhood quality may increase the risk of late-life frailty among Chinese older adults. Severe starvation in childhood was associated with higher risk of prefrailty. The risk differences of being frail were 5.7% lower for persons with a high school or above education, 1.5% lower for those whose fathers were literate, 4.8% lower for the highest neighborhood quality, and 2.9% higher for worse childhood health status compared to their counterparts.

Keywords: early life environments, life course health, physical health, frailty, aging, China

JEL Classification: I10, I14, I18

Suggested Citation

Li, Yaxi and Xue, Qian-Li and Odden, Michelle and Chen, Xi and WU, Chenkai, Early Life Environments and Frailty in Old Age among Chinese Older Adults. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12764. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3488191

Yaxi Li (Contact Author)

Duke Kunshan University

No. 8 Duke Avenue
Kunshan, 215316
China

Qian-Li Xue

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Michelle Odden

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Xi Chen

Department of Health Policy and Management ( email )

60 College St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Yale University - Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies ( email )

77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

HOME PAGE: http://isps.yale.edu/team/xi-chen

IZA ( email )

Chenkai WU

Duke Kunshan University

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