Biological Indicators in a Nationally Representative Sample of Young Adults: How Do Add Health Wave IV Biomarkers Measure Up?

Laura Chyu, Northwestern University
Thomas W. McDade, Northwestern University
Emma Adam, Northwestern University

While most large-scale, population-based social surveys with biomarkers have focused on aging in older populations, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) collected biomarkers from a cohort of young adults 24-32 years old in the study’s fourth wave (2007-2008). These biomarker data representing multiple systems, in combination with rich longitudinal data on demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral information across all four waves, are a valuable resource for understanding how health problems and subclinical disease emerge at earlier ages. We compare the collection, measurement, assay techniques, and distributions of biomarkers in Add Health with data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008. Sociodemographic patterns of high risk levels of individual biological indicators in Add Health are examined. This paper provides a descriptive profile of biomarkers in Add Health that is important for informing research using these data to study the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.

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Presented in Session 129: Demographic Studies Based on Biomarkers