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

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/666952
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/666952
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 61 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 127 - 156

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/666952
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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  1. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2004. "Is the Child Health / Family Income Gradient Universal? Evidence from England," IZA Discussion Papers 1328, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. John A. Maluccio & John Hoddinott & Jere R. Behrman & Reynaldo Martorell & Agnes R. Quisumbing & Aryeh D. Stein, 2009. "The Impact of Improving Nutrition During Early Childhood on Education among Guatemalan Adults," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 734-763, 04.
  3. Liam Delaney & Mark McGovern & James P. Smith, 2009. "From Angela's Ashes to the Celtic Tiger: Early Life Conditions and Adult Health in Ireland," Working Papers 200943, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. Philip Oreopoulos & Mark Stabile & Randy Walld & Leslie L. Roos, 2008. "Short-, Medium-, and Long-Term Consequences of Poor Infant Health: An Analysis Using Siblings and Twins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  5. James P. Smith & John Strauss & Xiaoyan Lei & Albert Park & Yan Shen & James P. Smith & Zhe Yang & Yaohui Zhao, 2010. "Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status Among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot," Working Papers 774, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  6. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  7. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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