Socioeconomic Success and Health in Later Life

Evidence from the Indonesia Family Life Survey

by Firman Witoelar, John Strauss, Bondan Sikoki

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Indonesia has been undergoing a major health and nutrition transition over the past twenty or more years and there has begun a significant aging of the population as well. In this paper the authors focus on documenting major changes in the health of the population aged 45 years and older, since 1993. They use the Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS), a large-scale, broad-based panel survey of households and individuals, covering 4 full waves from 1993 to 2007/8. Much of the changes can be seen as improvements in health, such as the movement out of undernutrition and communicable disease as well as the increasing levels of hemoglobin. On the other hand, other changes such as the increase in overweight and waist circumference, especially among women, and continuing high levels of hypertension that seems to be inadequately addressed by the health system, indicate that the elderly population in Indonesia is increasingly exposed to higher risk factors that are correlated with chronic problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

In addition to documenting long-run changes in health and its distribution among the elderly Indonesian population, they examine correlations between socio-economic status, principally education and percapita expenditure, and numerous health outcome and behavioral variables.

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This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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