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Economic Growth, Lifestyle Changes, and the Coexistence of Under and Overweight in China: A Semiparametric Approach

  • Shimokawa, Satoru
  • Pinstrup-Andersen, Per
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    This paper investigates the relationship between the emerging coexistence of under and overweight and changes in socioeconomic conditions associated with economic growth in China during 1991-2000. Our key questions are: (1) whether any socioeconomic factor explains both increasing overweight and remaining underweight, (2) whether China's continuing economic growth leads to further increase in the prevalence of overweight, and (3) whether China's economic growth alone can lead to commensurate decrease in its remaining underweight. We find that changes in the pattern of job-related activity could partly explain both remaining underweight and increasing overweight, while overall income growth contributes to reducing both under and overweight. The effects of economic growth examined in this paper, particularly decreasing food prices, explain a large share of increasing overweight, and thus continuing economic growth is likely to lead to further increase in the revalence of overweight. Our empirical results also ndicate that there exist unobserved factors that significantly counteract the downward effects of economic growth on underweight rates, and thus economic growth alone is unlikely to lead to commensurate decrease in remaining underweight. To reduce remaining underweight more effectively, more direct interventions (e.g., micronutrient supplementation) may be needed.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/21334
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    Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA with number 21334.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea06:21334
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    1. Fang, Cheng & Beghin, John C., 2002. "Urban Demand for Edible Oils and Fats in China: Evidence from Household Survey Data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 732-753, December.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
    5. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    6. Derek C. Jones & Cheng Li & Ann L. Owen, 2003. "Growth and Regional Inequality in China During the Reform Era," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-561, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    7. Ravi Kanbur & Xiaobo Zhang, 2004. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: A Journey Through Central Planning, Reform and Openness," Working Papers 158, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    8. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    9. David E. Sahn & David Stifel, 2003. "Exploring Alternative Measures of Welfare in the Absence of Expenditure Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(4), pages 463-489, December.
    10. Guo, Xuguang, et al, 2000. "Structural Change in the Impact of Income on Food Consumption in China, 1989-1993," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 737-60, July.
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