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Rapid income growth adversely affects diet quality in China--particularly for the poor!

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Author Info

  • Du, Shufa
  • Mroz, Tom A.
  • Zhai, Fengying
  • Popkin, Barry M.

Abstract

To study the impact of income change--specifically rapid income growth--on diet behavior over time and by socioeconomic level, we used data from a prospective study of China begun in 1989 (followed up in 1991, 1993 and 1997). The subpopulation used in this study included 5783 subjects aged 20-45 years old from 3129 households. Dietary intakes were measured using a combination of the weighing method and three consecutive 24-h recalls. Detailed income and price data were collected, and predicted household per capita income was used in multivariate longitudinal random-effects models that described the consumption of several food groups and nutrients. Income elasticity was used to measure the changes for the effects of income over time on (a) the probability of consuming any food and (b) the quantity of food consumed. The structure of the Chinese diet is shifting away from high-carbohydrate foods toward high-fat, high-energy density foods. The variation in the income effects that we uncovered indicated that important changes in income effects took place between 1989 and 1997, with the changes varying considerably by socioeconomic status. These shifts in income effects indicate that increased income might have affected diets and body composition in a detrimental manner to health, with those in low-income groups having the largest increase in detrimental effects due to increased income. Extrapolating from our estimates, higher income levels in the future could lead to the reversal of the health improvements achieved in the last two decades, if diet-related noncommunicable diseases cannot be controlled.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Pages: 1505-1515

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:7:p:1505-1515

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Keywords: Obesity Income Mortality Dietary behavior Random-effects China;

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Cited by:
  1. Popkin, Barry M. & Ng, Shu Wen, 2006. "The Nutrition Transition in High and Low-Income Countries: What are the Policy Lessons?," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25493, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. de Brauw, Alan & Mu, Ren, 2011. "Migration and the overweight and underweight status of children in rural China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 88-100, February.
  3. Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2011. "The Income Body Weight Gradients in the Developing Economy of China," Economics Working Paper Series 1140, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  4. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
  5. Loh, Chung-Ping A. & Li, Qiang, 2013. "Peer effects in adolescent bodyweight: Evidence from rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 35-44.
  6. Lars Osberg & Jiaping Shao & Kuan Xu, 2009. "The growth of poor children in China 1991–2000: why food subsidies may matter," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages S89-S108, April.
  7. Zhong, Funing & Xiang, Jing & Zhu, Jing, 2012. "Impact of demographic dynamics on food consumption — A case study of energy intake in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1011-1019.
  8. Bhavani Shankar & Yi Liu, 2007. "Will rising household incomes solve China's micronutrient deficiency problems?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(10), pages 1-14.
  9. You, Jing, 2013. "The role of microcredit in older children’s nutrition: Quasi-experimental evidence from rural China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 167-179.
  10. Chen, Zhuo & Eastwood, David B. & Yen, Steven T., 2005. "Childhood Malnutrition In China: Change Of Inequality In A Decade," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19205, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  11. Shankar, Bhavani, 2009. "Fat Chance: Modelling the Socio-Economic Determinants of Dietary Fat Intake in China," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51538, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  12. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2007:i:10:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS

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