Journal Article

The impact of the AIDS epidemic on the health of older persons in Northwestern Tanzania

We use longitudinal data from a region of Tanzania hard-hit by the AIDS epidemic to measure the impact of prime-aged adult mortality on the body mass index (BMI) of people over 50. BMI of older people declines in better-off households prior to an adult death and in households not receiving private assistance shortly after an adult death. BMI eventually recovers, however. This suggests that interventions prior to an adult death may avert some of the decline. In the longer run, raising household incomes, improving the road infrastructure, and preventing infectious disease epidemics will improve the physical well-being of older persons.