My latest paper is on the relationship between how long your parents’ live/lived and your expected survival. Turns out that even with improve medical care, health knowledge, etc, you still cannot be too careful in choosing your parents. The longer your parents live, the lower is your mortality risk. The paper is joint with my former graduate student Edwin Wong. You can find the paper here and the abstract is below.
Studies of adult mortality typically examine the impact of individual characteristics, but ignore the fact that the characteristics of people closely linked to those individuals also influence mortality risk. This paper examines the effect of parental longevity on survival outcomes of adult offspring using survey data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS) between 1992 and 2008. It employs a competing risk model that controls for correlation between individual death and survey non-response. There is strong evidence that individuals with longer-lived parents exhibit lower mortality risk. Even after controlling for health conditions and behavioral variables of the offspring, parental age at death has a substantial impact on the survival of the adult offspring, suggesting a strong genetic component that must be considered as important in determining longevity.