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Economic Growth, Lifestyle Changes, and the Coexistence of Under and Overweight in China: A Semiparametric Approach

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  • Shimokawa, Satoru
  • Pinstrup-Andersen, Per
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the relationship between the emerging coexistence of under and overweight and changes in socioeconomic conditions associated with economic growth in China during 1991-2000. Our key questions are: (1) whether any socioeconomic factor explains both increasing overweight and remaining underweight, (2) whether China's continuing economic growth leads to further increase in the prevalence of overweight, and (3) whether China's economic growth alone can lead to commensurate decrease in its remaining underweight. We find that changes in the pattern of job-related activity could partly explain both remaining underweight and increasing overweight, while overall income growth contributes to reducing both under and overweight. The effects of economic growth examined in this paper, particularly decreasing food prices, explain a large share of increasing overweight, and thus continuing economic growth is likely to lead to further increase in the revalence of overweight. Our empirical results also ndicate that there exist unobserved factors that significantly counteract the downward effects of economic growth on underweight rates, and thus economic growth alone is unlikely to lead to commensurate decrease in remaining underweight. To reduce remaining underweight more effectively, more direct interventions (e.g., micronutrient supplementation) may be needed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA with number 21334.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea06:21334

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    Keywords: Health Economics and Policy;

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    1. Jones, Derek C. & Li, Cheng & Owen, Ann L., 2003. "Growth and regional inequality in China during the reform era," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 186-200.
    2. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John DiNardo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 5093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    5. Fang, Cheng & Beghin, John C., 2002. "Urban Demand for Edible Oils and Fats in China: Evidence from Household Survey Data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 732-753, December.
    6. Cutler, David & Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2004. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: A Journey through Central Planning, Reform, and Openness," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    9. Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
    10. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
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