Childhood Conditions and Adult Health: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

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Paper Abstract: 
Poor health and premature death are direct manifestations of biological processes influenced by genetic, environmental, and life style factors. These factors operate throughout the life course and interact in complex ways to produce observed differentials in adult health and mortality. To explain these differentials, authors of most studies have typically examined the role of adult environment, employing such explanatory factors as socioeconomic status (e.g., education, income and wealth), health-related behaviors (e.g., smoking and exercise), and social support (kin and social networks and marriage) (see for example Adler et al. 1994; Feinstein 1993; House et al. 1994; Kaplan and Keil 1993; Lillard and Waite 1995; Lynch et al. 1996; Menchik 1993; Preston and Taubaman 1994; Rogers et al. 1996).