Association of Leg Length with Mortality: Evidence From NHANES I

Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, University of Pennsylvania

In recent years, epidemiologic and demographic studies have tried to explain the association between early childhood conditions and health outcomes in adulthood. Empirical evidence from England has shown that leg length provides an indication of better pre-pubertal nutrition which may suggests that childhood exposures might influence adult disease risk (Gunnell 2001). This paper aims to examine the relationship between leg length and adult mortality in the U.S. Preliminary results suggests that, although measures of leg length are significantly different between males and females in NHANES I, using Gompertz proportional hazard models we show that there is no overall association between leg length and the hazard of death in adult U.S. population. When we analyzed leg length by race and gender, there is an association between this measure and the hazard of death for black males only, although the relationship is rather weak. In further analysis will control for unobserved heterogeneity at older ages.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology