Dynamics of Health and Mortality: Biomarkers, Self-assessments and Socio-Demographic Characteristics

Duncan Thomas, Duke University
Elizabeth Frankenberg, Duke University

Using longitudinal survey data from the Indonesia Family Survey (IFLS), we examine the evolution of health over the life course during adulthood and later life. We contrast the contributions of both biomarker and self-assessed health indicators in predicting subsequent mortality as well as health of those alive. Body mass index and elevated blood pressure are powerful predictors of death and poor health. Self-assessments are also predictive of mortality and health but the associations tend to be weak and significant only in the short term. In an effort to delve more deeply into these relationships, we explore the extent to which they are mediated by socio-economic, demographic and family characteristics paying special attention to the roles of information, resources and family-specific heterogeneity. We use four waves of the IFLS, an on-going population-based survey of over 30,000 respondents, which spans 1993 through 2007. Biomarker information includes body mass index, blood pressure, hemoglobin, lung capacity and timed chair stands.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 105: Understanding Health and Mortality Using Biomarkers