Third Conference Poster Winners

poster winnerThe 2009 international Conference on Aging in the Americas organized a poster session for the emerging scholar mentorship program. The poster session was designed to attract students and post-doctoral trainees to the meeting. The event showcased poster presentations by emerging scholars whose abstracts were reviewed and selected for display at the conference.  For a complete list of abstracts and conference presenters see http://wwwtest.utexas.edu/lbj/caa/2009downloads.php

Organized by Dr. Terrence Hill the poster session served as a medium for conveying information to emerging, mid-career, and senior Hispanic health and aging scholars as well as policy makers.  The procedure of selection and appropriate content of the posters was determined by a panel of peer-reviewers which consisted of one Advisory Group member and other selected experts on the topic.  The criteria used to accept abstracts included empirical research projects that reported actual, not promised, results about aspects of healthful aging among people of Mexican origin or Hispanic background in the United States and Latin America.  To promote and ensure continuity across conferences, each poster session included the following themes: 1) Aging and Health in Mexico and the United States; 2) Aging policies and Hispanic Health and Long-term Care, and 3) Biobehavioral factors and Hispanic health.  The poster session also provided individuals an opportunity to present a poster on applied research they have conducted on new or different methodological techniques used to improve understanding and knowledge that may inform effective behavioral interventions, preventive health practices, and geriatric care arrangements.  To facilitate one-one-one interaction and networking, the poster presentation was held just outside the Lecture Hall where all participants were located to assure maximum interaction.  We should also note that a mentoring program reception and dinner was held immediately following the invited speakers on Wednesday to facilitate further feedback on the work presented at the poster session.

Seventeen emerging scholars from the United States and Mexico presented peer-reviewed research on Hispanic health and aging in a poster format. Three judges (Dr. Terrence Hill, Dr. Steven Wallace, and Dr. Rebeca Wong) evaluated the work based on the following set of criteria: background, methods, results, and presentation.

The following winners placed in the top three award categories:

First Place

Adina Zeki al Hazzouri, University of Michigan and Mary Haan, University of California, San Francisco
Nativity, Childhood Socioeconomic Status And Late Life Health: A Comparison Of Cognitive Performance In The Mexican Health And Aging Study (MHAS) And The Sacramento Area Latino Study On Aging (SALSA)

Background.  Growing evidence suggests that childhood socioeconomic status (SES) influences late-life cognition. Migration and nativity may influence the association between childhood SES and late life cognition.

Method.  This analysis compares the cross sectional association between childhood SES measured as mothers or father’s education and performance on a standardized scale of the delayed wordlist recall (DELREC) in the MHAS and the SALSA studies. Participants education was tested as a mediator for the association between childhood SES and cognitive performance. Nativity (birth in Mexico or the US) and migration (migration to the US) was evaluated as an effect modifier of those associations. 5253 MHAS participants and 1789 SALSA participants aged 60+ were included in a combined analysis. Nativity was coded as: Mexican resident, Mexican immigrant to the US and Mexican American born in the US.

Results. Lower father’s education was associated with lower performance on the DELREC as some elementary school (2% lower) or no school (19% lower) compared to more than elementary school. Adjustment for the respondent’s own SES reduced the associations by 115% and 74% respectively. Lower mother’s education (none or some elementary school was also associated with lower DELREC scores. Nativity modified the association between father’s education and DELREC such that among Mexican residents, those whose father had no education had significantly lower DELREC scores than US born MAs whose fathers had no education. A similar pattern existed for mother’s education. Respondent’s education mediated the association between childhood SES and DELREC score.

Conclusion. Lower parental education as a marker of childhood SES may be associated with lower performance on a word recall memory test., one’s education are important exposures experienced at different life course stages and whose interplay with childhood SES influence late-life cognition.

Second Place

César González, PhD candidate (El Colegio de México); Rebeca Wong, PhD (Sealy Center on Aging, UTMB); Rafael  Samper-Ternent, MD (Sealy Center on Aging, UTMB)
Mortality Risk in Older Adults in Mexico: the Role of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases

Background.  In Mexico, non-communicable chronic diseases are the most common
causes of death in older population. Diabetes mellitus, malignant tumors, and ischemic heart disease account for more than 50% of deaths in this population. However, an additional burden of disease due to communicable conditions, like tuberculosis, still remains.

Objectives. The purpose of this study is to establish the extent to which coexistence of communicable and non-communicable diseases increases the risk of mortality in older adults.

Method. Using data from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) for adults aged 60 an older, logistic regressions were performed to estimate the risk of mortality between 2001 and 2003 due to communicable, non-communicable diseases, and a combination of both. Communicable diseases were examined as follows: hypertension and arthritis were analyzed individually; heart attack, stroke, cancer and lung disease were grouped in a composite score referred as HASCL. Communicable diseases were also analyzed as a composite that included: liver or kidney infection, tuberculosis and pneumonia. Covariates included in the analysis were sex, age, education level, marital status, and location size.

Results. Incidence of HASCL increases the risk of two-year mortality by 22%. The presence of non communicable diseases in 2001 and 2003 increased the same risk by 7%. Persons with incidence of at least one of the HASCL group that also had at least one communicable disease in 2001 and 2003 had a risk of mortality of 52%. Presence of at least one non-communicable disease in 2001 increased mortality risk by 12%, while presence of a newly diagnosed non-communicable disease between 2001 and 2003 increased the risk by 48%. Education level, location size, hypertension and arthritis were not significantly related to higher risk of mortality.

Conclusion. A higher mortality risk was associated with new conditions that were diagnosed between 2001 and 2003. Communicable diseases contributed noticeably beyond non-communicable diseases towards the risk of mortality in older Mexican adults. The results provide evidence of the mixed epidemiological regime that still prevails in Mexico, and points toward the design of old-age health interventions that are tailored accordingly.

Third Place

Felicia Wheaton and Eileen M. Crimmins, University of Southern California
Weighing In: The Relationship Between Domestic Migration In Mexico And BMI And Waist-To-Hip Ratio In Later Life

Background. Older Mexicans have been highly mobile within Mexico and past migration has had significant consequences for current body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in later life. These are useful measures of cardiovascular risk and important predictors of diabetes mellitus.

Method. Data from the first wave of the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS), collected in 2002, indicate that nearly 40% of Mexicans age 50+ have migrated for a period of at least one year (N=3,636). Respondents were categorized according to migration history and whether thy lived in a rural or urban area at age 12 and in 2002, for a total of six groups, but here only the 4 largest are discussed.  

Results. Overall, approximately 47% had a high-risk WHR while 70% were overweight and 31% were obese. Logistic regression results controlling for age and sex show that relative to rural non-migrants, all other groups had significantly higher odds of being overweight, obese, or both (p<0.05). When additional variables were held constant, there were no longer significant differences in odds of being overweight. Albeit greatly reduced for urban non-migrants and rural-urban migrants, differences in obesity odds persisted. In both models, only rural-rural migrants had greater odds of high-risk WHR. Interestingly, rural-rural migrants had higher odds of being obese, despite having similar characteristics to rural non-migrants. Rural-urban migrants had greater odds of being obese and of having high-risk WHR.  

Conclusion. Thus, it appears that older Mexican migrants from rural localities, especially those now residing in urban areas, are especially at risk for the health problems associated with excess body weight.

© Conference Series on Aging in the Americas, PRC