Background: Child malnutrition is not only common in developing countries, but also an important issue faced by developed countries. This study aimed to explore the influence and degree of childhood starvation on the health of the elderly, which providing a reference for formulating health-related policies under the concept of full-life cycle health.
Methods: Based on Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) in 2008, 2011 and 2014, this paper took a total of 13,185 elderly people aged 65-99 years as the target population. By IMaCH software, with age, gender, and income level as the control variables, and the average life expectancy and healthy life expectancy of the elderly was measured. The test was used to explore the differences in socio-economic status of elderly people with or without starvation in childhood. The paired t test was used to analyze the difference both average life expectancy and healthy life expectancy.
Results: (1) Transition probabilities in health-disability, health-death, and disability-death all showed an upward trend with age(P<0.05), where the elderly who experienced starvation in childhood were higher than those without such an experience(P<0.05). However, the probability of disability-health recovery showed a downward trend with age(P<0.05), whereas the elderly who experienced starvation in childhood were lower than those without starvation(P<0.05).(2) For the elderly who experienced starvation in childhood, the health indicators of the average life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and healthy life expectancy proportion accounted for the remaining life were lower than those of the elderly without childhood starvation (P<0.05).
Conclusions: The negative impact of childhood starvation on health through the life course till old age, has a persistent negative cumulative effect on the quantity and quality of life for the elderly. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the nutritional status of children in poor families from the perspective of social policy-making.