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Trends in physical stature across socioeconomic groups of Chilean boys, 1880–1997

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  • Núñez, Javier
  • Pérez, Graciela

Abstract

This paper studies the trends in height-by-age across socioeconomic groups of Chilean boys aged 5–18 born between 1880 and 1997, by performing a meta-analysis of 38 studies reporting height-by-age published since 1898. We estimate the trends using quantile regressions and by analyzing detailed height data from five selected studies. Both methods yield an average decennial increase in height of 1–1.1cm, and 0.9 and 1.2–1.3cm for boys of upper and lower socioeconomic status (SES), respectively. SES differences in heights of 9–11cm are observed up to the late 1940s. However, boys born after the 1930s exhibit substantial convergence in height between socioeconomic groups, driven by an increase in height of middle and lower SES boys of 1.5 and 1.4–2cm per decade, respectively. As a result, SES differences in height decreased to 5cm in 1990s. Since these changes occurred in a context of moderate economic growth and persistent income inequality, we argue that our findings are associated with the emergence and expansion of social policies in Chile since the 1940s, which delivered steady improvements in health, nutrition and living conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Núñez, Javier & Pérez, Graciela, 2015. "Trends in physical stature across socioeconomic groups of Chilean boys, 1880–1997," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 100-114.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:16:y:2015:i:c:p:100-114
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.12.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maruyama, Shiko & Nakamura, Sayaka, 2015. "The decline in BMI among Japanese women after World War II," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 125-138.
    2. Dobado-González, Rafael & Garcia-Hiernaux, Alfredo, 2017. "Two worlds apart: Determinants of height in late 18th century central Mexico," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 153-163.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Secular trends; Stature; Height; Anthropometry; Chile;

    JEL classification:

    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

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