Environmental exposures like rainfall and temperature influence infectious disease exposure and nutrition, two key early-life conditions linked to later-life health. However, few tests of whether early-life environmental exposures impact adult health have been performed, particularly in developing countries. This study examines the effects of experiencing rainfall and temperature shocks during gestation and up through the first four years after birth on measured height, hypertension, and other cardiovascular risk factors using data on adults aged 50 and above (N = 1,036) from the 2007-2008 World Health Organization Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) and district-level meteorological data from India. Results from multivariate logistic regressions show that negative rainfall shocks during gestation and positive rainfall shocks during the postbirth period increase the risk of having adult hypertension and CVD risk factors. Exposure to negative rainfall shocks and positive temperature shocks in the postbirth period increases the likelihood of falling within the lowest height decile. Prenatal shocks may influence nutrition in utero, while postnatal shocks may increase exposure to infectious diseases and malnutrition. The results suggest that gestation and the first two years after birth are critical periods when rainfall and temperature shocks take on increased importance for adult health.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics