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Obesity in Black and White: Accounting for 19th Century US BMI Differences by Socioeconomic Status and Biology

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  • Scott A. Carson
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    Abstract

    Little research exists on late 19th and early 20th century US body mass index value differences by race, and darker complexions were associated with greater BMI values. Mulattos had greater BMI returns associated with socioeconomic characteristics, indicating that while blacks had greater BMIs than fairer complexioned whites and mulattos, part of the difference was offset by socioeconomic characteristics that favored fairer complexions. Black, mulatto, and white BMIs declined between 1860 and 1920, and farmers had greater BMIs than workers in other occupations.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-08/cesifo1_wp3913.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3913.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3913

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    Keywords: nineteenth century US race relations; body mass index; biological inequality;

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    1. Costa, Dora L., 2004. "The Measure of Man and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from the Gould Sample," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 1-23, March.
    2. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Waaler revisited: The anthropometrics of mortality," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 106-117, January.
    3. Baum II, Charles L. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2009. "Age, socioeconomic status and obesity growth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 635-648, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 972-996, December.
    6. Bodenhorn, Howard, 2010. "Height and body mass index values of nineteenth-century New York legislators," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 121-126, March.
    7. Wahl, Jenny B., 1996. "The Jurisprudence of American Slave Sales," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 143-169, March.
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