Chitwan Healthy Aging Project

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Institution: University of Michigan Population and Ecology Research Laboratory

Description: In fall 1999, Amy Pienta and Jennifer Barber conducted a pilot study which interviewed 103 older adults residing in the Chitwan Valley. This pilot study was undertaken in preparation for a new, large-scale project to collect data on mental and physical health from the elderly residents in the 171 neighborhoods sampled by the Chitwan Valley Family Study. Measures of physical functioning, chronic health conditions, lifestyle behaviors, health care utilization, barriers to health care utilization, depression, personal control, and cognition were pretested. This pilot study was an outstanding success. Locating and interviewing elderly respondents proved straightforward. Furthermore, virtually all of the survey questions proved feasible to ask and responses varied in reasonable and predictable ways. Our analyses of these pretest data give us great confidence that a large-scale project can be conducted successfully. Pienta and Barber are currently revising an R01 proposal previously submitted to the National Institute of Aging (National Institutes of Health) to fund a large-scale data collection project in Nepal.