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The Income Body Weight Gradients in the Developing Economy of China

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  • Tafreschi, Darjusch

Abstract

Though existing theories predict the income gradient of individual body weight to change sign from positive to negative in process of economic development, empirical evidence is scarce. This paper adds to the literature on that topic by investigating the case of China using data from the China Health and Nutrition survey. Using a one-dimensional measure to characterize the level of economic development of a region, regression analyses indicate that more income is related to larger future growth of individuals’ BMI in less developed areas whereas it lowers BMI growth in more developed areas. The switch is somewhat more pronounced for females. Finally, using concentration indices it is shown that overweight status is predominantly a problem of higher income ranks in less developed geographical areas and trickles down to lower income ranks throughout the course of economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Tafreschi, Darjusch, 2011. "The Income Body Weight Gradients in the Developing Economy of China," Economics Working Paper Series 1140, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2011:40
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    2. Min, Shi & Wang, Xiaobing & Yu, Xiaohua, 2021. "Does dietary knowledge affect household food waste in the developing economy of China?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    3. Ren, Yanjun & Castro Campos, Bente & Loy, Jens-Peter & Brosig, Stephan, 2019. "Low-income and overweight in China: Evidence from a life-course utility model," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1753-1767.
    4. Bonnefond, Céline & Clément, Matthieu, 2014. "Social class and body weight among Chinese urban adults: The role of the middle classes in the nutrition transition," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 22-29.
    5. Salmasi, Luca & Celidoni, Martina, 2017. "Investigating the poverty-obesity paradox in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 70-85.
    6. Butzlaff, Iris, 2016. "BMI Growth Rates and the Nutrition Transition: The Role of Income, Inequality and Income Growth in Russia," GlobalFood Discussion Papers 232914, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    7. Li, H. & Wang, X. & Ren, Y., 2018. "Family Income and Health: Evidence from Food Consumption in China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277074, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    8. Baeten, Steef & Van Ourti, Tom & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2013. "Rising inequalities in income and health in China: Who is left behind?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1214-1229.
    9. Clément, Matthieu, 2017. "The income-body-size gradient among Chinese urban adults: A semiparametric analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 253-270.
    10. Conor Lennon, 2018. "Who pays for the medical costs of obesity? New evidence from the employer mandate," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(12), pages 2016-2029, December.
    11. Eva Deuchert & Sofie Cabus & Darjusch Tafreschi, 2014. "A Short Note On Economic Development And Socioeconomic Inequality In Female Body Weight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 861-869, July.
    12. R. Alexander Bentley & Paul Ormerod & Damian J. Ruck, 2018. "Recent origin and evolution of obesity-income correlation across the United States," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 4(1), pages 1-14, December.
    13. Ren, Yanjun & Castro Campos, Bente & Loy, Jens-Peter & Brosig, Stephan, 2019. "Low-income and overweight in China: Evidence from a life-course utility model," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1753-1767.
    14. Ren, Yanjun & Li, Hui & Wang, Xiaobing, 2019. "Family income and nutrition-related health: Evidence from food consumption in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 58-76.
    15. Xie, Ruizhi & Awokuse, Titus O., 2013. "The Role of Health Status on Income in China," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151137, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    16. Tao Zhang, 2016. "Socioeconomic determinants of obesity and hypertension at the county level in China," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 239-252, October.
    17. Abay, Kibrom A. & Amare, Mulubrhan, 2018. "Night light intensity and women’s body weight: Evidence from Nigeria," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 238-248.
    18. Alexander Bentley, R. & Ruck, Damian J. & Fouts, Hillary N., 2020. "U.S. obesity as delayed effect of excess sugar," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    BMI; Bodyweight; Income; Development; China; CHNS; Concentration Index;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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