Effects of early-life conditions on adult mortality: a review

Popul Index. 1992 Summer;58(2):186-212.


"This paper considers the effects of health conditions in childhood on an individual's mortality risks as an adult. It examines epidemiologic evidence on some of the major mechanisms expected to create a linkage between childhood and adult mortality and reviews demographic and epidemiologic studies for evidence of the hypothesized linkages....Many empirical studies support the notion that childhood conditions play a major role in adult mortality, but only in the case of respiratory tuberculosis has the demographic importance of a specific mechanism been established by cohort studies. One's date and place of birth also appear to be persistently associated with risks of adult death in a wide variety of circumstances. An individual's height, perhaps the single best indicator of nutritional and disease environment in childhood, has recently been linked to adult mortality, especially from cardiovascular diseases. Further research is needed, however, before causal mechanisms can be identified."

MeSH terms

  • Adult*
  • Age Factors
  • Biology
  • Body Height*
  • Child Welfare*
  • Demography*
  • Disease*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Health
  • Infections
  • Mortality*
  • Physiology
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Population Dynamics
  • Research
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Tuberculosis*