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Early-life environment, eight and BMI of young adult males in Italy

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  • Emilia Arcaleni
  • Franco Peracchi

Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between the two main dimensions of early-life environment, namely disease burden (measured by infant mortality) and economic conditions (measured by income or consumption per capita), and height and body-mass index (BMI) of recent cohorts of young adult males in Italy. By combining high-quality micro-level data on height and weight with regional- and province-level information, we are able to link individual height and BMI at age 18 to regional and provincial averages of environmental variables in the year of birth. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, in rich low-mortality setting, the scarring effects of childhood disease dominate selection. We also show that both income and disease matter, and their relative importance differs depending on the outcome considered and the available background information. In particular, we find that income matters more than disease for height, while the opposite is true for BMI. Finally, using detailed province-level information, we show that income per capita is a proxy for a variety of environmental indicators that are highly correlated with economic conditions.

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File URL: http://www.dt.tesoro.it/export/sites/sitodt/modules/documenti_it/analisi_progammazione/working_papers/WP_n._4_February_2011.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance in its series Working Papers with number 4.

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Length: 22
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Handle: RePEc:itt:wpaper:wp2011-4

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Web page: http://www.dt.tesoro.it
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Keywords: Body height; BMI; obesity; income; infant mortality;

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  1. Brian A'Hearn & Franco Peracchi & Giovanni Vecchi, 2008. "Height and the normal distribution: Evidence from Italian military data," CEIS Research Paper 124, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Jul 2008.
  2. Jaume Garcia Villar & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2006. "Income and body mass index in Europe," Economics Working Papers 1001, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2008.
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