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Fat Chance: Modelling the Socio-Economic Determinants of Dietary Fat Intake in China


  • Shankar, Bhavani


Quantile Regression methods have much to offer the investigation of the determinants of dietary intake. Dietary inadequacy or excess occurs at the tails of nutrient and food intakes, and it seems intuitive that intake responses in these areas will differ from elsewhere along the intake distribution. We apply quantile regression to examine the drivers of a key aspect of dietary health, fat density of energy intake in China. The sample of 2612 individuals between the ages of 20 and 45 is derived from the China Health and Nutrition Survey. The following insights emerge: (i) Fat density increases with income, but worryingly the income effect is more pronounced at the upper conditional tail of fat intake (ii) While it is confirmed that an urban location contributes to higher fat density for the most part, this effect disappears at the upper conditional quantiles, suggesting that, at the most unhealthy levels of fat density conditional on covariates, the problem is as much a rural one as it is urban.

Suggested Citation

  • Shankar, Bhavani, 2009. "Fat Chance: Modelling the Socio-Economic Determinants of Dietary Fat Intake in China," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51538, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51538

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1987. "Will Developing Country Nutrition Improve with Income? A Case Study for Rural South India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 492-507, June.
    2. Abdulai, Awudu & Aubert, Dominique, 2004. "Nonparametric and parametric analysis of calorie consumption in Tanzania," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 113-129, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Behrman, Jere R. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "More evidence on nutrition demand : Income seems overrated and women's schooling underemphasized," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 105-128.
    5. J. Gibson & S. Rozelle, 2002. "How Elastic is Calorie Demand? Parametric, Nonparametric, and Semiparametric Results for Urban Papua New Guinea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 23-46.
    6. Du, Shufa & Mroz, Tom A. & Zhai, Fengying & Popkin, Barry M., 2004. "Rapid income growth adversely affects diet quality in China--particularly for the poor!," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1505-1515, October.
    7. Yen, Steven T. & Fang, Cheng & Su, Shew-Jiuan, 2004. "Household food demand in urban China: a censored system approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 564-585, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhen Miao & John C. Beghin & Helen H. Jensen, 2013. "Accounting For Product Substitution In The Analysis Of Food Taxes Targeting Obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(11), pages 1318-1343, November.


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