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Understanding community context and adult health changes in China: Development of an urbanicity scale

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  • Jones-Smith, Jessica C.
  • Popkin, Barry M.

Abstract

The classification of places as either urban or rural is typically based on an absolute threshold of population and/or population density. However, conceptual definitions of urbanization and urbanicity encompass dimensions beyond solely population size and population density. Multiple important distinguishing urban characteristics beyond population size have been described. The crude classification of places as urban or rural coupled with infrequent updates to this information creates a measure that is prone to misclassification error. An improved measure of urbanicity would draw information from the domains that characterize urban and rural places, would be sensitive to changes over time, and would represent gradations on the continuum from rural to urban environments. The goal of the current study was to develop such a scale from existing data, test whether the scale was reliable and valid, and assess whether it provided information beyond what could be determined from the traditional urban/rural dichotomous variable. We utilized established scaling procedures from the psychometric literature to construct and evaluate a multicomponent scale to measure urban features on a continuum in China. We also provided an example of its potential contribution to health research by examining its relationship with the adult body mass index (BMI). Because the scale was constructed and tested using established scaling procedures and using a wide array of variables, it represents an improvement over previous attempts at such a scale and will provide a reliable and valid measurement tool for researchers in this arena. We demonstrate that the scale predicts the incidence of overweight/obesity populations in China, but it promises to be most useful for other economic, demographic, social welfare, and health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones-Smith, Jessica C. & Popkin, Barry M., 2010. "Understanding community context and adult health changes in China: Development of an urbanicity scale," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(8), pages 1436-1446, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:71:y:2010:i:8:p:1436-1446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2015. "The income body weight gradients in the developing economy of China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 115-134.
    2. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:253-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Matthieu Clément & Céline Bonnefond, 2014. "Does social class affect nutrition knowledge and food preferences among Chinese urban adults?," Post-Print hal-02147996, HAL.
    4. Wei Huang & Xiaoyan Lei & Yaohui Zhao, 2016. "One-Child Policy and the Rise of Man-Made Twins," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 467-476, July.
    5. Zhou, Song & Awokuse, Titus O., "undated". "Urbanization, Nutrition Transition, and Obesity: Evidence from China," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170458, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Huang, Wei, 2015. "Understanding the Effects of Education on Health: Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 9225, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    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. Jing You & Katsushi Imai & Raghav Gaiha, 2014. "Decoding the Growth-Nutrition Nexus in China: Inequality, Uncertainty and Food Insecurity," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 20714, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    9. You, Jing & Imai, Katsushi S. & Gaiha, Raghav, 2016. "Declining Nutrient Intake in a Growing China: Does Household Heterogeneity Matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 171-191.
    10. Liu, Hong & Zhao, Zhong, 2014. "Does health insurance matter? Evidence from China’s urban resident basic medical insurance," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 1007-1020.
    11. Fan, Linlin & Nogueira, Lia & Baylis, Katherine R., 2013. "Agricultural Market Reforms and Nutritional Transition in Rural China," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150203, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Katsushi S. Imai & Jing You, 2011. "Poverty Dynamics of Households in Rural China: Identifying Multiple Pathways for Poverty Transition," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-35, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    13. repec:kap:poprpr:v:37:y:2018:i:6:d:10.1007_s11113-018-9494-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Liu, Hong & Sun, Qi & Zhao, Zhong, 2014. "Social learning and health insurance enrollment: Evidence from China's New Cooperative Medical Scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 84-102.
    15. repec:eee:chieco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:126-135 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Liu, Hong & Fang, Hai & Zhao, Zhong, 2013. "Urban–rural disparities of child health and nutritional status in China from 1989 to 2006," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 294-309.
    17. Qing Wang, 2015. "Child Gender, Intergenerational Kinship and Parental Labor Market Outcomes," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(4), pages 892-907, November.
    18. Céline Bonnefond & Matthieu Clément & François Combarnous, 2015. "In search of the elusive Chinese urban middle class: an exploratory analysis," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 41-59, March.
    19. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:123-141 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Ren, Weiwei & Rammohan, Anu & Wu, Yanrui, 2014. "Is there a gender gap in child nutritional outcomes in rural China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 145-155.
    21. Kuiyun Zhi & Jin Huang & Suo Deng & Yongjin Chen & Michael G. Vaughn & Zhengmin Qian, 2016. "Decreased smoking initiation among male youths in China: an urban–rural comparison," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 61(4), pages 417-425, May.
    22. Zhou, Yijing & Du, Shufa & Su, Chang & Zhang, Bing & Wang, Huijun & Popkin, Barry M., 2015. "The food retail revolution in China and its association with diet and health," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 92-100.
    23. Katsushi S. Imai & Jing You, 2014. "Poverty Dynamics of Households in Rural China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 76(6), pages 898-923, December.
    24. Du, Zaichao & LI, Renyu & He, Qinying & ZHANG, Lin, 2014. "Decomposing the rich dad effect on income inequality using instrumental variable quantile regression," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 379-391.
    25. repec:eee:chieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:79-97 is not listed on IDEAS

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