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The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China

Author

Listed:
  • James P. Smith
  • Yan Shen
  • John Strauss
  • Yang Zhe
  • Yaohui Zhao

Abstract

In this article, we model the associations of childhood health on adult health and socioeconomic status outcomes in China using a new sample of middle-aged and older Chinese respondents. Modeled after the American Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the CHARLS Pilot survey respondents are 45 years and older in two quite distinct provinces--Zhejiang, a high growth industrialized province on the East Coast and Gansu, a largely agricultural and poor province in the West. Childhood health in CHARLS relies on two measures that proxy for different dimensions of health during the childhood years. The first is a retrospective self-evaluation using a standard five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor) of general state of one's health when one was less than 16 years old. The second is adult height believed to be a good measure of levels of nutrition during early childhood and the prenatal period. We relate both these childhood health measures to adult health and SES outcomes during the adult years. We find strong associations of childhood health on adult health outcomes particularly among Chinese women and strong associations with adult BMI particularly for Chinese men.

Suggested Citation

  • James P. Smith & Yan Shen & John Strauss & Yang Zhe & Yaohui Zhao, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood Health on Adult Health and SES in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(1), pages 127-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/666952
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Smith, James P. & Tian, Meng & Zhao, Yaohui, 2013. "Community effects on elderly health: Evidence from CHARLS national baseline," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 1, pages 50-59.
    2. Gustafsson, Björn & LI, Shi & Sato, Hiroshi, 2014. "Data for studying earnings, the distribution of household income and poverty in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 419-431.
    3. McGovern, Mark E., 2014. "Comparing the relationship between stature and later life health in six low and middle income countries," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 128-148.
    4. Huang, Wei & Zhou, Yi, 2013. "Effects of education on cognition at older ages: Evidence from China's Great Famine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 54-62.
    5. repec:eee:joecag:v:4:y:2014:i:c:p:59-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Till Stowasser & Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2013. "Understanding the SES Gradient in Health Among the Elderly: The Role of Childhood Circumstances," NBER Chapters,in: Discoveries in the Economics of Aging, pages 187-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Li, Xin & Zhang, Wei, 2013. "The impacts of health insurance on health care utilization among the older people in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 59-65.
    8. You, Jing, 2013. "The role of microcredit in older children’s nutrition: Quasi-experimental evidence from rural China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 167-179.
    9. Fernihough, Alan & McGovern, Mark E., 2015. "Physical stature decline and the health status of the elderly population in England," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 30-44.
    10. Lei, Xiaoyan & Smith, James P. & Sun, Xiaoting & Zhao, Yaohui, 2014. "Gender differences in cognition in China and reasons for change over time: Evidence from CHARLS," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 46-55.
    11. repec:eee:joecag:v:3:y:2014:i:c:p:29-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_993 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:44-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Lei, Xiaoyan & Sun, Xiaoting & Strauss, John & Zhang, Peng & Zhao, Yaohui, 2014. "Depressive symptoms and SES among the mid-aged and elderly in China: Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study national baseline," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 224-232.
    15. Kim, Younoh & Sikoki, Bondan & Strauss, John & Witoelar, Firman, 2015. "Intergenerational correlations of health among older adults: Empirical evidence from Indonesia," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 6(C), pages 44-56.
    16. Eriksson, Tor & Pan, Jay & Qin, Xuezheng, 2014. "The intergenerational inequality of health in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 392-409.
    17. repec:eee:joecag:v:4:y:2014:i:c:p:26-34 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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