Applied Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Does Education and Interrupted Work Experience Help To Explain Why Childhood Health Is Related To Later Life Quality: Evidence from CHARLS

*Cathy Honge Gong
Department Of Geriatric And Gerontology, ARC Centre Of Excellence In Population Ageing Research, Centre For Research On Ageing, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Cathy Honge Gong
Department Of Geriatric And Gerontology, ARC Centre Of Excellence In Population Ageing Research, Centre For Research On Ageing, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Email:cathy.gong@anu.edu.au

Published on: 2019-07-30

Abstract

Background: China is experiencing rapid population aging. How to make sure prolonged longevity is accompanied by good quality of life needs to be investigated. Methods: This study uses the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) 2013 survey data to examine how different measures of later life quality are influenced by childhood health and mediated by education, interrupted work experience and other social economic factors. CHARLS is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of older people in China aged 45 years and over with detailed retrospective information on childhood health collected among more than 18, 000 individuals in 150 districts and 450 villages. Results: The findings indicate that childhood health is significantly associated with all measures of later life quality, with education and interrupted work experience being the significant and important mediators. Conclusion: The results can inform actions to improve life-long social and health equity by enhancing equal access to education and health resources and improving life-long continuous labour force participation, especially for vulnerable groups.

Keywords

Childhood health; later life quality; education; interrupted work experience; mediators; China

Introduction

China is experiencing rapid population aging, at a rate two to four times faster than that experienced in earlier decades by Western countries such as the US, Sweden and France. By year 2050, a projected 454 million Chinese will be aged 60 years old or above; further, the one-child policy introduced in the late 1970s will accelerate increases of the elderly dependency ratio to a projected range of 35 to 44% in 2050 [1, 2]. This population development is combined with the hope that the prolonged longevity is accompanied by good subjective quality of life, while this might not be the case, especially for those who experienced disadvantages in socio-economic and health circumstances since earlier life stages [3].