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If My Blood Pressure Is High, Do I Take It to Heart? Behavioral Effects of Biomarker Collection in the Health and Retirement Study

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  • Ryan D. Edwards

    () (University of California
    University of California)

Abstract

Starting in 2006, respondents in the biennial U.S. Health and Retirement Study were asked to submit biomarkers every other wave and were notified of several results. Rates of undiagnosed high blood pressure and diabetes according to these biomarkers were 1.5 % and 0.7 %, respectively. An intent-to-treat analysis suggests that collection and notification had small effects on the average respondent and may have reduced health care utilization. Among respondents who received notification of potentially dangerous biomarker levels, subsequent rates of new diagnosis and associated pharmaceutical usage increased by 20 to 40 percentage points, an order of magnitude above baseline. High blood glucose A1C was associated with a 2.2 % drop in weight and an increase in exercise among respondents without a previous diagnosis of diabetes. Notifications appear also to have altered health behaviors by spouses, suggesting household responses to health maintenance. Biomarker collection seems to have altered circumstances for an interesting minority of HRS respondents.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan D. Edwards, 2018. "If My Blood Pressure Is High, Do I Take It to Heart? Behavioral Effects of Biomarker Collection in the Health and Retirement Study," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(2), pages 403-434, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s13524-018-0650-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-018-0650-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Zoey Verdun, 2020. "Impact of a Health Shock on Lifestyle Behaviours," Economics Working Papers ECO 2020/02, European University Institute.

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