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A suboptimal diet and nutritional deficiencies can have important influences on health with significant impact among older adults. This study aims to assess the presence of suboptimal dietary intake among older Americans and identify risk and protective factors influencing diet quality.
Cross-sectional secondary analysis.
A nationally representative sample of 5614 community-dwelling older adults over age 54 in the Health and Retirement Study – Health Care and Nutrition Survey.
Overall, only 10·7 % of respondents had a good quality diet (Healthy Eating Index score 81 and above); the majority had diets considered poor or needing improvement. Less than 50 % of respondents met dietary guidelines and nutritional goals for most individual food groups and nutrients. Respondents with low socio-economic status, fewer psychosocial resources and those who had limited access to healthy food outlets were more likely to have a diet of suboptimal quality.
Efforts to remove identified barriers that put older adults at risk for poor nutrition and to provide resources that increase access to healthy food should be made to encourage healthy eating and enhance diet quality.
The 1918 Influenza pandemic had long-term impacts on the cohort exposed in utero which experienced earlier adult mortality, and more diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and depression after age 50. It is possible that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will also have long-term impacts on the cohort that was in utero during the pandemic, from exposure to maternal infection and/or the stress of the pandemic environment. We discuss how COVID-19 disease during pregnancy may affect fetal and postnatal development with adverse impacts on health and aging. Severe maternal infections are associated with an exaggerated inflammatory response, thromboembolic events, and placental vascular malperfusion. We also discuss how in utero exposure to the stress of the pandemic, without maternal infection, may impact health and aging. Several recently initiated birth cohort studies are tracking neonatal health following in utero severe acute respiratory syndrome virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exposure. We suggest these cohort studies develop plans for longer-term observations of physical, behavioral, and cognitive functions that are markers for accelerated aging, as well as methods to disentangle the effects of maternal infection from stresses of the pandemic environment. In utero exposure to COVID-19 disease could cause developmental difficulties and accelerated aging in the century ahead. This brief review summarizes elements of the developmental origins of health, disease, and ageing and discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic might exacerbate such effects. We conclude with a call for research on the long-term consequences of in utero exposure to maternal infection with COVID-19 and stresses of the pandemic environment.
A social network is a valuable resource in later life. Therefore, the current study aims to investigate whether social networks within homes and neighbourhoods are associated with older adults’ daily fruit and vegetable consumption.
Cross-sectional secondary data analysis.
A nationally representative sample of 6865 community-dwelling older adults over age 53 in the Health and Retirement Study – Health Care and Nutrition Survey.
Older adults who lived alone with no children or friends nearby had the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption. However, the daily fruit and vegetable consumption of respondents who lived alone and had children or friends nearby or those who lived with someone and had no children or friends nearby was not statistically different from those who lived with someone and had children or friends nearby. This suggests that having a social network either at home or in the neighbourhood complements the absence of living with someone or having children or friends nearby and attenuates the negative association between limited social networks and daily fruit and vegetable consumption. A greater decrease in the number of fruits and vegetables consumed was observed among men when they lived alone with no children or friends nearby.
Special attention should be given to older adults with limited social networks, especially older adults living alone with no children or friends nearby. Provision of help with grocery shopping and meal preparation as well as social support networks and more opportunities that can improve social engagement appear to be necessary.
The objectives were to determine whether women always fare more poorly in terms of physical function and disability across countries that vary widely in terms of their level of development, epidemiologic context and level of gender equality. Sex differences in self-reported and objective measures of disability and physical function were compared among older adults aged 55–85 in the United States of America, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, China, Indonesia and among the Tsimane of Bolivia using population-based studies collected between 2001 and 2011. Data were analysed using logistic and ordinary least-squares regression. Confidence intervals were examined to see whether the effect of being female differed significantly between countries. In all countries, women had consistently worse physical functioning (both self-reported and objectively measured). Women also tended to report more difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL), although differences were not always significant. In general, sex differences across measures were less pronounced in China. In Korea, women had significantly lower grip strength, but sex differences in ADL difficulty were non-significant or even reversed. Education and marital status helped explain sex differences. Overall, there was striking similarity in the magnitude and direction of sex differences across countries despite considerable differences in context, although modest variations in the effect of sex were observed.
This paper investigates the prevalence of incapacity in performing daily activities and the associations between household composition and availability of family members and receipt of care among older adults with functioning problems in Spain, England and the United States of America (USA). We examine how living arrangements, marital status, child availability, limitations in functioning ability, age and gender affect the probability of receiving formal care and informal care from household members and from others in three countries with different family structures, living arrangements and policies supporting care of the incapacitated. Data sources include the 2006 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe for Spain, the third wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2006), and the eighth wave of the USA Health and Retirement Study (2006). Logistic and multinomial logistic regressions are used to estimate the probability of receiving care and the sources of care among persons age 50 and older. The percentage of people with functional limitations receiving care is higher in Spain. More care comes from outside the household in the USA and England than in Spain. The use of formal care among the incapacitated is lowest in the USA and highest in Spain.
Health conditions in United States cities at the turn of the twentieth century were very poor. Bleak pictures of crowded dwellings, contaminated water supplies, and filthy streets have been painted by numerous observers of urban areas at the time (Smith, 1964). While the effects of these conditions on mortality levels have not been precisely measured, urban mortality rates were consistently higher than rural mortality rates in 1900 in the United States (Condran and Crimmins, 1980). Nevertheless, considerable variation in the mortality levels of different cities also existed. Our goal in this article is to explain the variation in the mortality conditions in U.S. cities for which death registration data were collected in 1900. The analysis is done in two stages. First, the causes of death which accounted for the different mortality levels are isolated. Second, a multivariate analysis of the factors affecting the rates of occurrence of these causes of death is performed.
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