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Nineteenth Century Black and White US Statures: The Primary Sources of Vitamin D and their Relationship with Height

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  • Scott A. Carson
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    Abstract

    Vitamin D is vital in all vertebrates because it allows them to absorb more calcium from their diets, contributing to stronger skeletal systems and stature growth. Using a new source of 19th century US state prison records, this study contrasts the statures of comparable African-Americans and whites by the primary sources of vitamin D production: time exposed to solar radiation, skin pigmentation, and nativity. Greater insolation (vitamin D production) is documented here to be associated with taller black and white statures, and a considerable share of the stature differential by socioeconomic status was related to insolation.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-12/cesifo1_wp2497.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2497.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2497

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    Related research

    Keywords: socioeconomic status; vitamin D; insolation; 19th century US statures;

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    1. Coelho, Philip R. P. & McGuire, Robert A., 2000. "Diets Versus Diseases: The Anthropometrics of Slave Children," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 232-246, March.
    2. Sutch, Richard, 1975. "The treatment received by American slaves: A critical review of the evidence presented in Time on the Cross," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 335-438, October.
    3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    4. Pritchett, Jonathan B. & Freudenberger, Herman, 1992. "A Peculiar Sample: The Selection of Slaves for the New Orleans Market," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 109-127, March.
    5. Haines, Michael R. & Craig, Lee A. & Weiss, Thomas, 2003. "The Short and the Dead: Nutrition, Mortality, and the in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 382-413, June.
    6. repec:cup:jechis:v:60:y:2008:i:01:p:232-246_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
    8. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 972-996, December.
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