Does Childhood Health Affect Chronic Morbidity in Later Life?

TitleDoes Childhood Health Affect Chronic Morbidity in Later Life?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsBlackwell, DL, Hayward, MD, Crimmins, EM
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Call Numberpubs_2001_Blackwell_DSocSciMed.pdf
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Health Conditions and Status

Examines whether childhood health has long-term and enduring consequences for chronic morbidity, and addresses two methodological issues of concern in the literature: (1) Is adult height a surrogate for childhood health experiences in modeling chronic disease in later life? and (2) Are the effects of adult socioeconomic status on chronic disease overestimated when childhood health is not accounted for? The analysis is based on a topical module to the third wave of the Health and Retirement Study, a representative survey of US adults, ages 55 -65, in 1996. Our results support the hypothesis that poor childhood health increases morbidity in later life. This association is found for cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular conditions, and arthritis/rheumatism. The associations were highly persistent in the face of statistical controls for both adult and childhood socioeconomic status. No support was found for using adult height as a proxy for the effects of childhood health experiences. Further, the effects of adult socioeconomic status were not overestimated when childhood health was excluded from the explanatory models. Results point to the importance of an integrated health care policy based on the premise of maximizing health over the entire life cycle. 6 Tables, 43 References. Adapted from the source document

Endnote Keywords

Health/Childhood/Chronic Illness/Socioeconomic Status/Morbidity/Body Height

Endnote ID


Citation Key6735