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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (8): 1757-1763    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62691-2
Special Focus: Food economics and policies Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Low-income and overweight in China: Evidence from a life-course utility model
REN Yan-jun1, 2, Bente Castro Campos1, Jens-Peter Loy1, Stephan Brosig2   
1 Institute of Agricultural Economics, University of Kiel, Kiel 24118, Germany
2 Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies, Halle (Saale) 06120, Germany
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Previous literature has demonstrated that low-income people are more likely to settle for poor health choices in developed countries.  By using income as a budget constraint and signal for future wellbeing in a life-course utility model, we examine the association amongst income and overweight.  The data used for this study are from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS).  Estimations are conducted for overweight initiation, cessation, and participation mirroring a decision to begin and a past decision to not terminate.  Our findings propose that body weight and the likelihood of overweight commencement rise with additional income but at a diminishing degree, representing a concave relation; while the likelihood of overweight discontinuance declines with additional income but at an accelerating degree, suggesting a convex relation.  We presume that, as opposed to developed countries, low-income people are less inclined to be overweight in China, a country in transition.  This could be explained by an income constraint for unhealthy foodstuff.  Nevertheless, it will switch when income surpasses the critical threshold of the concave or inverted U-shape curve indicating that low-income people appear to receive not as much utility from future health.  Specifically, this adjustment seems to occur earlier for females and inhabitants of urban areas.
Keywords:  low-income        overweight        life-course utility        China  
Received: 25 July 2018   Accepted:
Fund: We thank the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Carolina Population Center (5 R24 HD050924), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NIH (R01-HD30880, DK056350, R24 HD050924, and R01-HD38700) and the Fogarty International Center, NIH for financial support for the CHNS data collection and analysis files from 1989 to 2011 and future surveys, and the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Ministry of Health for support for CHNS 2009. The authors also acknowledge the financial support from the China Scholarship Council for conducting this research.
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence Bente Castro Campos, E-mail:    
About author:  REN Yan-jun, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

REN Yan-jun, Bente Castro Campos, Jens-Peter Loy, Stephan Brosig . 2019.

Low-income and overweight in China: Evidence from a life-course utility model
. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(8): 1757-1763.

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