This study assesses retrospective childhood health reports and examines childhood health as a predictor of adult health. The results suggest that such reports are of reasonable reliability as to warrant their judicious use in population research. They also demonstrate a large positive relationship between childhood and adult health. Compared with excellent, very good, or good childhood health, poor childhood health is associated with more than three times greater odds of having poor adult self-rated health and twice the risk of a work-limiting disability or a chronic health condition. These associations are independent of childhood and current socioeconomic position and health-related risk behaviors.
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