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Am J Public Health. 2017 Jan;107(1):113-119. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Maternal Age at Childbirth and Parity as Predictors of Longevity Among Women in the United States: The Women's Health Initiative.

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Aladdin H. Shadyab and Andrea Z. LaCroix are with the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla. Margery L. S. Gass is with the North American Menopause Society, Emeritus, Cleveland, OH. Marcia L. Stefanick is with the Department of Medicine, Stanford Center for Prevention Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA. Molly E. Waring is with the departments of Quantitative Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. Caroline A. Macera and Richard A. Shaffer are with the Division of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Linda C. Gallo is with the Department of Psychology, San Diego State University. Sonia Jain is with the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.



To examine associations of maternal age at childbirth and parity with survival to age 90 years (longevity).


We performed a prospective study among a multiethnic cohort of postmenopausal US women in the Women's Health Initiative recruited from 1993 to 1998 and followed through August 29, 2014. We adjusted associations with longevity for demographic, lifestyle, reproductive, and health-related characteristics.


Among 20 248 women (mean age at baseline, 74.6 years), 10 909 (54%) survived to age 90 years. The odds of longevity were significantly higher in women with later age at first childbirth (adjusted odds ratio = 1.11; 95% confidence interval = 1.02, 1.21 for age 25 years or older vs younger than 25 years; P for trend = .04). Among parous women, the relationship between parity and longevity was significant among White but not Black women. White women with 2 to 4 term pregnancies compared with 1 term pregnancy had higher odds of longevity.


Reproductive events were associated with longevity among women. Future studies are needed to determine whether factors such as socioeconomic status explain associations between reproductive events and longevity.

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