Online Program

Links between early life socioeconomic status and old-age nutrition status

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ho-Jui Tung, PhD, Dept. of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan
Ming-Chin Yeh, PhD, Nutrition Program, Hunter College, The City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Chin-Shou Wang, PhD, Graduate Institute of Political Economy, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan
Introduction: Cumulative Inequality theory specifies that social systems generate inequality over the life course, leading to health inequalities in old age. We explore the relationship between childhood socioeconomic status (SES), educational attainment, and nutrition status in old age among a representative sample of elderly in Taiwan over a 10-year period.

Methods: Data were obtained from a longitudinal survey of Taiwanese elders (aged 60 or over in 1989, N=3511). Participants’ father’s educational attainment was used as an indicator of childhood SES. Nutrition status was evaluated by the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), which was administered in 1999. To account for the deceased, multinomial logistic regression was used to model both the odds of “death” or “at risk of malnutrition” against the elderly with normal nutritional status by 1999. All the analyses were stratified by gender.

Results: Among the 3511 participants surveyed in 1989, 1486 had died by 1999 and another 392 were at risk of malnutrition, based on their scoring on the MNA. The multinomial logistic regression showed that, in addition to the participants’ own level of education, their father’s education attainment was associated with either their survival or nutritional status 10 years later. For the men who had an illiterate father, they were more likely to die over the10-year period (OR=1.31, p=0.017). On the otehr hand, a woman with an illiterate father was more likely to be malnutritional (OR=1.72, p=0.01) in old age.

Conclusions: We found significant associations between childhood SES and mortality and malnutrition in old age that is gender-specific.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the relationship between the early life social conditions and nutritional status in later life. Identify gender differences in the link between early life social conditions and nutritional status in old age.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been interested in social gerontological research since my doctoral dissertation. I have conducting research and publish papers in this area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.