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Jere Behrman, University of Pennsylvania

Alternative Trajectories in Body Weight, Mental and Cognitive Health among Older Americans: Roles of Genetics and Earlier SES
When Apr 13, 2021
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where Online via Zoom
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Presentation

Body weight, mental health and cognitive health are three important components affecting the overall health and wellbeing of older adults. We investigate the roles of genetic predisposition, childhood SES and adult schooling attainment in shaping trajectories of these three outcomes. We use the Health & Retirement Study and group-based trajectory modelling to identify subgroups of people who share the same underlying trajectories. After identifying trajectories, we then estimate associations of baseline (1) polygenic scores (PGS, summary measures of genetic predispositions) for BMI, depression, ever-smoked, education, cognition and subjective wellbeing, (2) childhood SES and (3) schooling attainment with the trajectories for (1) BMI, (2) mental health (i.e., depressive symptoms) and (3) cognition. We find that the association of the BMI PGS with BMI is substantially larger than associations of childhood SES and schooling attainment with BMI. In contrast, for mental and cognitive health, schooling attainment has larger associations compared to PGSs and childhood SES. We also find suggestive evidence that higher childhood SES attenuates the association of the education PGS with mental and cognitive health.

About the Speaker

Jere Behrman

Jere R. Behrman (Ph.D. Economics, MIT) is the Kenan Professor of Economics and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania. His research is in empirical micro economics, economic development, early childhood development, labor economics, human resources, economic demography, household behaviors, life-cycle and intergenerational relations and policy evaluation.  He has published over 465 professional articles and 35 books. He has worked with numerous international organizations and governments, been involved in professional research or lecturing in over 40 countries, principal investigator or investigator on over 160 research projects and received various honors for his research, including: Econometric Society Fellow, 40th Anniversary Fulbright Fellow, 2008 biennial Carlos Diaz-Alejandro Prize for outstanding research contributions to Latin America,  2011 Doctor Honoris Causa from University of Chile, member of the. US National Institutes of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Advisory Council, 2017 Population Association of America Irene B. Taeuber Award, member of the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Population.

Note:  Zoom Link for Registration.  Upon registration you will receive an automatically generated email with the direct link for the seminar.

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