Midlife Predictors of Exceptional Longevity: A Study of the U.S. WWI Draft Registration Cards

Natalia S. Gavrilova, University of Chicago
Leonid A. Gavrilov, University of Chicago

This study explores whether people living to 100 and beyond were any different from their peers at their middle age (30 years). A random sample of 240 men born in 1887 and survived to age 100 was selected from the U.S. Social Security Administration database and then linked to the U.S. World War I draft registration cards collected in 1917, when these men were 30 years old. Randomly selected shorter-lived men matched by birth year, race and county of draft registration were used as controls. It was found that the “stout” body build (being in the heaviest 15% of population) was negatively associated with survival to age 100 years. Both farming and having large number of children (4+) at age 30 significantly increased the chances of exceptional longevity. The effects of immigration status, marital status and body height were less important, and they were statistically insignificant in the studied data set.

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Presented in Session 172: Early Life Conditions and Adult Health