Personal choices made earlier in life can have lasting effects on elderly health. Decisions about exercise, nutrition, smoking, and drinking behavior, as well as some less obvious choices such as pursuit of higher education, whether or not to marry, and which neighborhood to live in all have consequences much later in life. Not only can such choices in one’s adult life affect elderly health, but so can characteristics of one’s childhood.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) supports analysis of the effects of early life on elderly health. Knowledge gained from these analyses can help design programs to improve the choices people make both for themselves and for their children. This newsletter discusses some of the current research undertaken by NIA-sponsored and other researchers on the effects of early life on adult and elderly health.