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Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes Between England and the United States

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  • James Banks
  • Zoe Oldfield
  • James P. Smith

Abstract

In this paper we examine the link between retrospectively reported measures of childhood health and the prevalence of various major and minor diseases at older ages. Our analysis is based on comparable retrospective questionnaires placed in the Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing - nationally representative surveys of the age 50 plus population in America and England respectively. We show that the origins of poorer adult health among older Americans compared to the English trace right back into the childhood years - the American middle and old-age population report higher rates of specific childhood health conditions than their English counterparts. The transmission into poor health in mid life and older ages of these higher rates of childhood illnesses also appears to be higher in America compared to England. Both factors contribute to higher rates of adult illness in the United States compared to England although even in combination they do not explain the full extent of the country difference in late-life health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • James Banks & Zoe Oldfield & James P. Smith, 2011. "Childhood Health and Differences in Late-Life Health Outcomes Between England and the United States," NBER Working Papers 17096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17096
    Note: AG HE
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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter‐Ebmer, 2016. "The Causal Effect of Education on Health: What is the Role of Health Behaviors?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 314-336, March.
    2. Brunello, Giorgio & Fort, Margherita & Schneeweis, Nicole & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2011. "The Causal Effect of Education on Health," Economics Series 280, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    3. McGovern, Mark E., 2014. "Comparing the relationship between stature and later life health in six low and middle income countries," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 128-148.
    4. Angelini, V. & Mierau, J.O., 2012. "Social and economic aspects of childhood health," Research Report 12002-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    5. Brandt, Martina & Deindl, Christian & Hank, Karsten, 2012. "Tracing the origins of successful aging: The role of childhood conditions and social inequality in explaining later life health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1418-1425.
    6. Angelini, Viola & Mierau, Jochen O., 2014. "Born at the right time? Childhood health and the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 35-43.
    7. Levine, M.E. & Cole, S.W. & Weir, D.R. & Crimmins, E.M., 2015. "Childhood and later life stressors and increased inflammatory gene expression at older ages," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 16-22.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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