Spring 2007 Health & Society News Archive

Richard Jessor was an invited participant in the year-long Psychology Speaker Series organized by the psychologists at RAND in Santa Monica, CA. His talk, on January 18, dealt with the findings from the Denver-Beijing-Zhengzhou collaborative study of risk and protective factors in adolescent risk behavior and development. Jessor's presentation emphasized that the underlying explanatory account of risk behavior was largely invariant across such radically different societal contexts.

Richard Rogers taught a short course in April, 2007, "The Demography of Adult Morbidity and Mortality", through the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) at the University of Southampton in England. The course was attended by graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, staff members from government agencies, and individuals from private organizations.

This three-day course tackled such crucial questions as: Are health disparities widening over time and place? Are individuals really living longer and in better health? How does socioeconomic status operate to improve health and reduce mortality? Will life expectancies in more developed countries continue to increase over time, and if so, by how much? Overall, the course focused on ways to improve health and lengthen life.

Richard Rogers gave a presentation, "Obesity and Mortality", on May 1, 2007 at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) in the Hague. The presentation presented historical patterns in adult obesity, revealed how obesity has changed over time for select subpopulations, and highlighted recent trends in the effects of obesity on mortality.

Richard Rogers presented "Sex Differentials in Mortality," to the Department of Demography and Organizational Studies and the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio, June 5, 2007.

This research -- conducted with Bethany Everett, Jarron Saint Onge, Patrick Krueger, and Bob Hummer -- employs the third round of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES III) linked to the National Death Index (NDI) and life tables with covariates to examine sex differences in mortality. We build on previous literature by expanding the theoretical perspective; analyzing a current nationally representative data set; examining the effects of multiple risk factors; and presenting life tables with covariates. Whereas both sexes have witnessed mortality improvements over time, males have realized relatively greater gains. We find that both sexes realize a marriage survival advantage. Compared to men, women's lower propensity to be married, employed, earn high incomes, and engage in regular physical activity reduces the sex gap in mortality, but women's greater propensity to attend religious services and abstain from smoking widens the sex gap in mortality. These results contribute to the national discussion of health disparities; are rich with implications for family, health care, and pensions; and provide insight into life expectancy forecasts.

Short Course on Biodemography, June 11-13, 2007: The CU Population Center with support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Institute of Behavioral Science, the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, and the Department of Sociology, just completed a three-day short course on the topic of Biodemography. Jason Boardman organized the course, which included a review and discussion of current substantive contributions in the literature, instruction on the collection and use of biomarkers in demographic research, and methodological training in the statistical analysis of biosocial interactions. Faculty for this workshop included Eileen Crimmins (University of Southern California), Noreen Goldman (Princeton University), Maxine Weinstein (Georgetown University), and Tom Johnson, Matt McQueen, Michael Stallings, and Deqing Wu (Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado). Students were comprised of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty from 20 universities across the country. More information can be found by visiting the course website: http://www.colorado.edu/ibs/cupc/short_courses/biodemography/.