Urbanization and the spread of diseases of affluence in China
A new methodology is used to quantify, track and explain the distribution of obesity and hypertension across areas differentiated by their degree of urbanicity. We construct an index of urbanicity from longitudinal data on community characteristics from the China Health and Nutrition Survey and compute a rank-based measure of inequality in disease risk factors by degree of urbanicity. Prevalence rates almost doubled over the period 1991-2004 and the risk factors became less concentrated in more urbanized areas. Decomposition analysis shows that urbanicity-related inequalities are mostly attributable to differences in community level characteristics and to disparities in incomes and in the physical and farming activity of individuals.
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