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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2001 May;56(3):S171-8.

Age and sex differences in genetic and environmental factors for self-rated health: a twin study.

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1
Department of Medical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Pia.Svedberg@mep.ki.se

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Self-rated health has been shown to be a predictor for future health status and mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate age-group and sex differences in genetic and environmental sources of variation for self-rated health.

METHODS:

A sample of twins from the Swedish Twin Registry participated in a computer-assisted telephone interview with assessment of self-rated health. Structural equation model analyses on 1,243 complete twin pairs provided estimates of genetic and environmental components of variance.

RESULTS:

Individual differences primarily reflected individual specific environmental influences at all ages. The increase in total variance across age groups was primarily due to genetic influences in the age groups 45--74 years and greater environmental influences in the oldest age group (>74). No significant sex differences were found in variance components.

DISCUSSION:

Genetic variance in the two middle age groups (45--74) could reflect genetic susceptibility to age-dependent illnesses not yet expressed in the youngest group. The findings suggest that it might be more fruitful to explore the origins of individual differences for self-rated health in the context of an individual's age and birth cohort rather than in the context of sex.

PMID:
11316842
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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