Aging and Mortality among Elderly Costa Ricans

Carolina Santamaria, Universidad de Costa Rica
Luis Rosero-Bixby, Universidad de Costa Rica

We report the results of a three-year follow up of a representative sample of about 7,200 elderly Costa Ricans with over-sampling of the oldest old. The age specific death rates in this sample compare favorably with those of more developed countries. Traditional indicators of living standards such as education and economic status do not show an association with mortality at these ages. We use regression methods to model the effects of aging in mortality of elderly Costa Ricans compared to other populations. The data suggest that exceptional longevity among the elderly is possible in developing countries with a fast pace of mortality decline that have controlled most of mortality caused by communicable diseases (which is strongly determined by socioeconomic conditions), without being yet exposed to some health risks of modernity, such as obesity, saturated fat consumption, smoking, stress, and lack of exercise.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging