The tide to come: elderly health in Latin America and the Caribbean

J Aging Health. 2006 Apr;18(2):180-206. doi: 10.1177/0898264305285664.


This article introduces a conjecture and reviews partial evidence about peculiarities in the aging of populations in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) that may impact future elderly health status. Using Survey on Health and Well-Being of Elders data (SABE; n = 10,902), the authors estimated effects of early childhood conditions on adult diabetes and heart disease. Using Waaler-type surfaces, the authors obtained expected mortality risks for SABE and also U.S. elderly (Health and Retirement System, n = 12,527). Expected mortality risks using Waaler-type surfaces among elderly in LAC reflected excesses supporting our conjecture. There was partial evidence of a relation between various indicators of early childhood nutritional status (knee height, waist-to-hip ratio) and diabetes and even stronger evidence of a relation between rheumatic fever and adult heart disease. There is some evidence, albeit weak, to suggest that the conjecture regarding elderly health status' connection to early conditions has some merit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caribbean Region / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Forecasting
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Diseases / mortality
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality* / trends
  • Nutritional Status
  • United States / epidemiology