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Height, health, and income in the US, 1984-2005

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  • Rashad, Inas

Abstract

Height has been associated with better physical health when outcomes such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are considered, yet stature is rarely used in predicting comorbidities or as a proxy for physical health when analyzing outcomes such as income. Since height is a more exogenous measure than variables likely to be affected by lifestyle changes, such as obesity, observing labor market outcomes based on height may be revealing. In addition, gender and racial differences must be taken into account when analyzing the effects of height on physical health and labor market outcomes. This study utilizes the 1984-2005 samples of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in estimating trends in height over time by gender and race, and in analyzing the relationship between height and physical health and labor market outcomes in the United States. Trends show that height has not changed substantially at a time when physical health, as indicated by the incidence of obesity, Type II diabetes, and cholesterol, has deteriorated, and earnings disparities across racial gaps persist. Results at mean values for males indicate that being 10Â cm taller is associated with a 14-47% increase in obesity, an 8-13% reduction in cholesterol prevalence, and a $1874-2306 income premium. For females, results indicate that being 10Â cm taller is associated with an 8-18% reduction in cholesterol, a 14% reduction in diabetes for white females, and an $891-2243 earnings premium.

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  • Rashad, Inas, 2008. "Height, health, and income in the US, 1984-2005," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 108-126, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:108-126
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    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "Critical Periods During Childhood and Adolescence: A Study of Adult Height Among Immigrant Siblings," IZA Discussion Papers 4140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Mark E. McGovern & Aditi Krishna & Victor M. Aguayo & S.V. Subramanian, 2017. "A Review of the Evidence Linking Child Stunting to Economic Outcomes," CHaRMS Working Papers 17-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    3. Juliet Elu & Gregory Price, 2013. "Ethnicity as a Barrier to Childhood and Adolescent Health Capital in Tanzania: Evidence from the Wage-Height Relationship," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 25(1), pages 1-13.
    4. Guettabi, Mouhcine & Munasib, Abdul, 2015. "The Impact of Obesity on Consumer Bankruptcy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 208-224.
    5. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9785-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. M. Kunst & S. Bogaerts & T. Wilthagen & F. Winkel, 2010. "Income Attainment among Victims of Violence: Results From a Preliminary Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 169-180, January.
    7. Zong, Xin-Nan & Li, Hui & Wu, Hua-Hong & Zhang, Ya-Qin, 2015. "Socioeconomic development and secular trend in height in China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 258-264.
    8. Sohn, Kitae, 2015. "The height premium in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 1-15.
    9. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:13-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Micheli, Martin, 2015. "Does height affect labor supply? Implications of product variety and caloric needs," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112987, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Kevin Denny, 2017. "Are the Effects of Height on Well-Being a Tall Tale?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 1445-1458, October.
    12. Micheli, Martin, 2015. "Does height affect labor supply? Implications of product variety and caloric needs," Ruhr Economic Papers 566, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Manfredini, Matteo & Breschi, Marco & Fornasin, Alessio & Seghieri, Chiara, 2013. "Height, socioeconomic status and marriage in Italy around 1900," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 465-473.

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