Educational Differences in Cognitive Life Expectancy Among Older Adults in Brazil

Brazil, as many other countries in the world, has experienced fast growth of its older adult population. With population aging, issues related to cognitive impairment become increasingly urgent because old age is a major risk factor for cognitive decline. Evidence indicates that older adults in developing countries have lower levels of cognition when compared to their counterparts in more developed countries. However, there are important educational differences within countries and individuals with higher educational attainment have lower risk of having cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease.

In a recent study, social work professor Flavia Andrade and colleagues used data of three waves (2000, 2006, and 2010) of the Health, Well-Being, and Aging Study collected in São Paulo, Brazil, to estimate life expectancy with and without cognitive impairment for men and women across educational groups. Results indicate that adults older than 60 years with no education live shorter lives and with longer periods of cognitive impairment than those with education. Women in São Paulo live longer lives than men – but women live with cognitive impairment for a greater number of years.

Read the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society article, Educational Differences in Cognitive Life Expectancy Among Older Adults in Brazil.