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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2018 Apr;72(4):337-341. doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209809. Epub 2018 Jan 9.

U-shaped association between fertility and mortality in a community-based sample of Japanese women.

Author information

1
Department of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
2
Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
3
Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.
4
National Institute of Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prospective cohort studies of contemporary populations in both Western and Asian settings have reported a U-shaped association between fertility and mortality. We examined whether an association exists between fertility and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a sample of Japanese women.

METHODS:

A prospective cohort study was conducted in one rural and one urban community in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, in 1993. A follow-up survey was conducted in the year 2000 in 4858 women aged 47-77 years, and information on demographic and lifestyle characteristics was collected. Mortality and migration data through December 2008 were obtained. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to examine the relationship between parity and mortality.

RESULTS:

Compared with women with 2-4 children (reference group), higher total mortality was observed among women with 0-1 or 5+ children. Low (HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.3) and high (HR 2.1, 95% CI 1.0 to 4.7) parities were both associated with higher all-cause mortality even after adjusting for potential confounders. Mortality due to ischaemic heart disease exhibited a significant association with parity; the HRs were 3.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 9.2) for women with 0-1 child and 8.7 (95% CI 1.7 to 45.5) for women with 5 or more children. No significant association was observed for mortality from malignancies, cancer of the digestive system, cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

There exists a U-shaped association between parity and all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality due to ischaemic heart disease among Japanese women.

KEYWORDS:

cohort studies; fertility; ischaemic heart disease; mortality

PMID:
29317469
DOI:
10.1136/jech-2017-209809

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