Adult Health and Mortality in the Gambia: Relationships between Anthropometric Status and Adult Mortality Risk

Rebecca Sear, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Relationships between adult mortality and anthropometric status have received considerable attention in developed countries. Less is known about these relationships in the developing world. This paper analyzes relationships between anthropometric status and adult mortality in a rural Gambian population, using height, weight and haemoglobin as the measures of interest. For haemoglobin there is a linear negative relationship with mortality risk for both sexes: individuals with higher haemoglobin have lower mortality. BMI is broadly negatively related to mortality risk for both men and women, though overweight individuals suffer a slightly increased risk of death. The relationship between height and mortality differs between the sexes. For men, there is no relationship. For women there is a U-shaped relationship, with women of average height having the lowest mortality.

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Presented in Session 3: Adult Health and Mortality in Developing Countries