Childhood Disadvantages and Age Trajectories of Frailty in China: A Life Course Approach

Zhenhua Xu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper examines whether childhood disadvantage is associated with age trajectories of health and how cohort effects moderate the associations among Chinese elderly. We draw data from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) and measure health using frailty index. Results from growth curve modeling show that inadequate access to health care, poor nutrition and no schooling during childhood are associated with poor health in late life, while being born in rural areas and having a father with lower occupational status are associated with better health. Educational and nutritional disparities in health trajectories converge in successive birth cohorts, while effects of birth place and father’s occupational status on age trajectories of health diverge in successive birth cohorts. Birth cohorts born before 1920s in urban areas have greater frailty than those born in rural areas, whereas cohorts born after 1920s in urban areas have lower frailty than those born in rural areas.

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Presented in Session 128: Health and Mortality in Developing Countries