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The income body weight gradients in the developing economy of China

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  • Tafreschi, Darjusch

Abstract

Existing theories predict the income gradient of individual body weight to change sign from positive to negative in process of economic development. However, there are only few empirical studies which test this hypothesis. This paper adds to the literature on that topic by investigating the case of China. Using individual and community data from 1991 to 2009 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey regression analyses suggest that after controlling for important confounding factors (1) higher income is positively related to future growth of individuals’ BMI in less developed areas (i.e. BMI growth is 0.7–1.5 percentage points higher when comparing the richest with the poorest individuals), but negatively related to BMI growth in more developed areas (i.e. BMI growth is 0.8–1.6 percentage points lower for the richest individuals), and (2) that concentrations of overweight are “trickling down” to lower income ranks as regions become more developed. Moreover, the reversal of the income gradient appears to happen at earlier stages of development for females.

Suggested Citation

  • Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2015. "The income body weight gradients in the developing economy of China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 115-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:16:y:2015:i:c:p:115-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2014.02.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Butzlaf, Iris & Minos, Dimitrios, 2016. "Understanding the Drivers of Overweight and Obesity in Developing Countries: The Case of South Africa," Discussion Papers 232025, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    2. Eva Deuchert & Sofie Cabus & Darjusch Tafreschi, 2014. "A Short Note On Economic Development And Socioeconomic Inequality In Female Body Weight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 861-869, July.
    3. Xie, Ruizhi & Awokuse, Titus O., 2013. "The Role of Health Status on Income in China," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151137, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Baeten, Steef & Van Ourti, Tom & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "Rising inequalities in income and health in China: Who is left behind?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1214-1229.
    5. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:70-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Butzlaff, Iris, 2016. "BMI Growth Rates and the Nutrition Transition: The Role of Income, Inequality and Income Growth in Russia," Discussion Papers 232914, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    7. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
    8. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:253-270 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    BMI; Overweight; Income gradient; Economic development; China; CHNS;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development

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