Health among Elderly Puerto Ricans: Analysis of a New Data Set

Alberto Palloni, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Ana Luisa Davila, University of Puerto Rico
Alberto Garcia, University of Puerto Rico
Hernando Mattei, University of Puerto Rico
Melba Sanchez, University of Puerto Rico

We test conjectures suggesting that health status among elderly in Latin America and the Caribbean is and will be relatively precarious. We use data from a recent survey of a nationally representative sample of elderly Puerto Ricans and their surviving spouses (PREHCO), information about Hispanics from HRS, and from cross sectional surveys in seven capital cities in Latin America. We investigate self reported health status, ADL and IADL and compare them to analogous measures obtained from Hispanics in the US, their Anglo and African American counterparts, and elderly populations in Latin America. We also use information on self reported diabetes and anthropometric measures (BMI, hip-to-waist ratios) to establish associations between adult chronic disease and early childhood conditions. These comparisons reveal that Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico are disadvantaged relative to their counterparts in the US, but similar to elderly people living in other Latin American and Caribbean.

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Presented in Session 53: Health and Mortality in Developing Countries