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Demographic, Residential, and Socioeconomic Effects on the Distribution of 19th Century African-American Body Mass Index Values

Author

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  • Scott A. Carson

Abstract

Little research exists on the body mass index values of late 19th and early 20th century African-Americans. Using a new BMI data set and robust statistics, this paper demonstrates that late 19th and early 20th century black BMI variation by age increased in their mid-30s but declined at older ages when worker physical productivity declined. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, black BMIs decreased across the distribution, indicating that the 20th century increase in black BMIs did not have its origin in the 19th century. During industrialization, black BMIs were lower in Kentucky, Missouri, and urban Philadelphia.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott A. Carson, 2011. "Demographic, Residential, and Socioeconomic Effects on the Distribution of 19th Century African-American Body Mass Index Values," CESifo Working Paper Series 3338, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3338
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3338.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Komlos, John & Coclanis, Peter, 1997. "On the Puzzling Cycle in the Biological Standard of Living: The Case of Antebellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 433-459, October.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    3. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
    4. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia's Rural Free Blacks," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 972-996, December.
    5. Costa, Dora L., 2004. "The Measure of Man and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from the Gould Sample," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 1-23, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nineteenth century U.S. economic development; body mass index; 19th century race relations;

    JEL classification:

    • I00 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General

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