How income and education influence obesity risk in China

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

PhD Seminar (Econ)

Date & time

Friday 11 July 2014


Coombs Seminar Room B, Coombs Building 9, Fellows Road, ANU


Dung Doan, PhD scholar, Crawford School, ANU.


Robert Sparrow

While previous studies suggest that obesity is an epidemic of the rich in China, this essay reveals a dynamic transition in China, where obesity risk is trickling down to people of lower-socioeconomic status. Between 2004 and 2009, China moved from the upward-sloping section to the downward sloping section of an inverted U-shaped relationship between income and BMI. As of 2009, higher income decreases BMI and the possibility of overweight/obesity, especially among women. Better educated women had lower BMI and lower probability of being overweight/obese, yet more schooling was associated with higher BMI and obesity risk among men. The Chinese women appear to lead this transition where higher income and better education result in a healthier body mass and lower risk of obesity. This study also finds that provincial factors play an important role in influencing body mass and the possibility of obesity in China.

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