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Cross National Data on Early Life Conditions and Older Adult Health in Low, Middle and High Income Countries: A Pilot to Extend the Scope and Usability of the RELATE Data

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Mary McEniry

Cross national comparative studies of aging provide a way to view and understand patterns and trends across diverse countries and regions. Yet, until recently there has been a paucity of cross national data from surveys of older adults in low and middle income countries that can guide policy decisions regarding the determinants of older adult health in these settings. The recently compiled cross national RELATE (Research on Early Life and Aging Trends and Effects) dataset has information early life conditions and older adult health on over 147,000 older adults from 20 low, middle and high income countries and is now publicly available. However, there is more that can be done to increase the relevance of these data. The overall goal of this pilot project is to build on the previously NIA-funded K25 project to continue the expansion of the RELATE data to strengthen its usefulness to other researchers. The specific aims of the pilot project are to (1) Enhance RELATE by incorporating newly available panel data and biomarker data from existing studies; (2) Identify relevant contextual data on early life and older adult environments that could be merged with RELATE data; and (3) Incorporate new study data on older adults into the RELATE data. The cross national RELATE data are rich in many ways but will require much more analysis to be able to fully understand the comparability of data across countries. The main results of the pilot will be an enhanced RELATE dataset with more longitudinal data and with better measures of older adult health and contextual data, and a proposal to NIH to further examine the determinants of older adult health using the RELATE data. All of these efforts will ultimately lead to more collaborative efforts to use and analyze the cross national data.

Funding Period: 03/01/2014 to 02/28/2015

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