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Family income and body mass index – what have we learned from China


  • Fafanyo Asiseh

    () (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University)

  • Jianfeng Yao

    () (North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University)


Abstract Obesity poses lots of health risks in both developing and developed countries. One thing that remains unclear is the relationship between family income and weight gain. This paper explores the relationship between family income and Body Mass Index (BMI) given variations in individual choice towards basic consumption and life quality improvement consumption as income increases. We use a nationally representative longitudinal data from China, the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), to estimate the relationship between income and weight gain. We conduct both cross sectional and panel data analysis to study the causal effects of family income on weight development. Unlike other literature that found inverse relationship between prevalence of obesity and family income in developing countries, in this paper, we find that BMI will first increase with family income at a decreasing rate, and then decrease which suggests that the group of middle class may suffer the high risk of being overweight and obese.

Suggested Citation

  • Fafanyo Asiseh & Jianfeng Yao, 2016. "Family income and body mass index – what have we learned from China," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 1-10, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:hecrev:v:6:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1186_s13561-016-0129-z
    DOI: 10.1186/s13561-016-0129-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. García Villar, Jaume & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Income and body mass index in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 73-83, March.
    2. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    3. Nicos Nicolaou & Scott Shane & Lynn Cherkas & Janice Hunkin & Tim D. Spector, 2008. "Is the Tendency to Engage in Entrepreneurship Genetic?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(1), pages 167-179, January.
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