Relation of Birth Month and Elderly Health Status in Latin American and Caribbean Countries

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

In theory, month of birth is an instrument that can help identify the effects of early growth on adult health, independent of more recent life course factors. If this is true and if early childhood nutritional status is an important predictor of adult health status, then we should expect to find a relation between month of birth and adult health. Building on Doblhammer’s research in the developed world, we use data from three major studies on aging from Puerto Rico, Mexico and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) cities to examine the relation between birth month and elderly health. We estimate the effects of month of birth on (1) mortality in Mexico and for selected LAC countries using Waaler-type surfaces; and (2) morbidity outcomes including self-reported health, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and ADLs/IADLs using multivariate methods. We discuss our results and their implications using Doblhammer’s research as a benchmark.

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Presented in Session 5: Aging in Developing Countries