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Trends in the association between height and socioeconomic indicators in France, 1970-2003

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  • Singh-Manoux, Archana
  • Gourmelen, Julie
  • Ferrie, Jane
  • Silventoinen, Karri
  • Guéguen, Alice
  • Stringhini, Silvia
  • Nabi, Hermann
  • Kivimaki, Mika

Abstract

Average physical stature has increased dramatically during the 20th century in many populations across the world with few exceptions. It remains unclear if social inequalities in height persist despite improvements in living standards in the welfare economies of Western Europe. We examined trends in the association between height and socioeconomic indicators in adults over three decades in France. The data were drawn from the French Decennial Health Surveys: a multistage, stratified, random survey of households, representative of the population, conducted in 1970, 1980, 1991, and 2003. We categorised age into 10-year bands, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 years. Education and income were the two socioeconomic measures used. The slope index of inequality (SII) was used as a summary index of absolute social inequalities in height. The results show that average height increased over this period; men and women aged 25-34 years were 171.9 and 161.2Â cm tall in 1970 and 177.0 and 164.0Â cm in 2003, respectively. However, education-related inequalities in height remained unchanged over this period and in men were 4.48Â cm (1970), 4.71Â cm (1980), 5.58Â cm (1991) and 4.69Â cm (2003), the corresponding figures in women were 2.41, 2.37, 3.14 and 2.96Â cm. Income-related inequalities in height were smaller and much attenuated after adjustment for education. These results suggest that in France, social inequalities in adult height in absolute terms have remained unchanged across the three decades under examination.

Suggested Citation

  • Singh-Manoux, Archana & Gourmelen, Julie & Ferrie, Jane & Silventoinen, Karri & Guéguen, Alice & Stringhini, Silvia & Nabi, Hermann & Kivimaki, Mika, 2010. "Trends in the association between height and socioeconomic indicators in France, 1970-2003," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 396-404, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:3:p:396-404
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Apouey, Bénédicte H. & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 2016. "Parents’ education and child body weight in France: The trajectory of the gradient in the early years," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 70-89.
    2. Perelman, Julian, 2014. "Are chronic diseases related to height? Results from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 56-66.
    3. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2015. "Parents' education and child body weight in France: The trajectory of the gradient in the early years," Working Papers halshs-01223321, HAL.
    4. Etile, Fabrice, 2014. "Education policies and health inequalities: Evidence from changes in the distribution of Body Mass Index in France, 1981–2003," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 46-65.
    5. Huang, Ying & van Poppel, Frans & Lumey, L.H., 2015. "Differences in height by education among 371,105 Dutch military conscripts," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 202-207.
    6. Do, D. Phuong & Watkins, Daphne C. & Hiermeyer, Martin & Finch, Brian K., 2013. "The relationship between height and neighborhood context across racial/ethnic groups: A multi-level analysis of the 1999–2004 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 30-41.
    7. Richmond, Tracy K. & Walls, Courtney E. & Subramanian, S.V., 2013. "The association of adolescent socioeconomic position and adult height: Variation across racial/ethnic groups," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 178-184.
    8. Manfredini, Matteo & Breschi, Marco & Fornasin, Alessio & Seghieri, Chiara, 2013. "Height, socioeconomic status and marriage in Italy around 1900," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 465-473.
    9. repec:eee:phsmap:v:501:y:2018:i:c:p:86-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Abu Dalou, Ahmad Yosuf, 2016. "Height of Northern Jordanian middle-class adults, born 1960–1990 in the response to improving socio-economic conditions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 155-160.

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    Keywords

    Height Trends Social inequalities;

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