The Long Term Effect of Famine on Chinese Adult Mortality: A Cohort Analysis
Yong Li, Johns Hopkins University
The life course of epidemiology suggests that in utero environment may potentially play an important role on the etiology of chronic diseases. Particularly, fetal undernutrition is proposed to have a lifelong significance on health through mechanisms of fetal programming during critical periods of development. A lasting and severe hunger could have a long-term impact on adult health for people born during the famine thus likely exposed fetal undernutrition during gestation. The paper examines the fetal origins hypothesis in China under the context of famine in 1958-62. Data include adult mortality from recent three Censuses in 1982, 1990, 2000, and causes of death from the national diseases surveillance system between 1990 and 2000. Demographic cohort analysis and statistical modeling approach are both used. Results are discussed and further studies are suggested.