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Impacts of the Westernization of Food Preferences on Medical Costs in China


  • Curtis, Kynda R.
  • McCluskey, Jill J.


The dietary changes in China to include more meat, dairy, and processed foods, are commonly attributed in literature to income increases, urbanization, and the availability of western food products. As seen in other Asian countries, these new food habits may increase obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases among the Chinese people. These new health concerns will likely have economic consequences in terms of productivity losses and increased health care costs. This paper uses a Tobit model to analyze the influence of household demographics and food consumption on household medical costs in China. Results show that dietary choice has a definite impact on medical costs for the 800 households sampled. A nationwide dietary educational campaign in China may be useful in dampening the societal costs of dietary choice.

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  • Curtis, Kynda R. & McCluskey, Jill J., 2004. "Impacts of the Westernization of Food Preferences on Medical Costs in China," 2004 Conference (48th), February 11-13, 2004, Melbourne, Australia 58399, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aare04:58399

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Han, Tong & Wahl, Thomas I., 1998. "China'S Rural Household Demand For Fruit And Vegetables," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), July.
    2. Fanning, Jasper & Marsh, Thomas L. & Stiegert, Kyle W., 2002. "Determinants Of Fast Food Consumption," 2002 Annual Meeting, July 28-31, 2002, Long Beach, California 36637, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 1998. "Market development and food demand in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 25-45.
    4. Kuchler, Fred & Ballenger, Nicole, 2002. "Societal Costs of Obesity: How Can We Assess When Federal Interventions Will Pay?," Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, vol. 25(3).
    5. Fan, Shenggen & Agcaoili-Sombilla, Mercedita C., 1997. "Why do projections on China's future food supply and demand differ?:," EPTD discussion papers 22, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Curtis, Kynda R. & McCluskey, Jill J. & Wahl, Thomas I., 2007. "Consumer preferences for western-style convenience foods in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-14.
    7. Chern, Wen S & Loehman, Edna T & Yen, Steven T, 1995. "Information, Health Risk Beliefs, and the Demand for Fats and Oils," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 555-564, August.
    8. Regmi, Anita, 2003. "A Richer World Wants a Richer Diet," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, November.
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