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Economics and Human Biology

Di Zeng, Michael R Thomsen, Rodolfo M Nayga, Judy L Bennett
Retail food environment is increasingly considered in relation to obesity. This study investigates the impacts of access to supermarkets, the primary source of healthy foods in the United States, on the bodyweight of children. Empirical analysis uses individual-level panel data covering health screenings of public schoolchildren from Arkansas with annual georeferenced business lists, and utilizes the variations of supermarket openings and closings. There is little overall impact in either case. However, supermarket openings are found to reduce the BMI z-scores of low-income children by 0...
January 22, 2019: Economics and Human Biology
Beatriz Rodríguez-Sánchez, David Cantarero-Prieto
The aim of this study is to explain the trends in socioeconomic inequality and diabetes outcomes in terms of hospital admission and death in old European people. The sample includes 73,301 individuals, across 16 European countries taken from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). People being diagnosed of diabetes were more likely to be admitted to hospital than those without diabetes, although its effect dropped after controlling for clinical and functional complications. Largest asscociations were observed in women, people aged 50-65 years old, with medium educational level and medium household income...
January 17, 2019: Economics and Human Biology
Willem M Jongman, Jan P A M Jacobs, Geertje M Klein Goldewijk
Ancient Rome was the largest and most populous empire of its time, and the largest pre-industrial state in European history. Recent though not universally accepted research suggests that at least for the most populous central periods of its history standard of living was also rather higher than before or after. To trace whether this is also reflected in Roman biological standard of living, we present the first large and more or less comprehensive dataset, based on skeletal data for some 10,000 individuals, covering all periods of Roman history, and all regions (even if inevitably unequally)...
January 16, 2019: Economics and Human Biology
Archana Dang, Pushkar Maitra, Nidhiya Menon
Galvanized by rapid income growth, labor market transitions in the nature of jobs, and lifestyle factors, there has been an increase in rates of obesity in many developing countries. This paper examines the relationship between BMI and sector and physical intensity of work among urban adults in India. We document that BMI is positively and significantly associated with labor market inactivity. Women in white-collar work have about 1.01 kg/m2 higher BMI than women in blue-collar work. For working men, the comparable estimate is approximately 1...
January 16, 2019: Economics and Human Biology
Michał Kopczyński
The paper traces the secular trend in stature in Poland in the interwar period. On the basis of individual measuring cards created by military authorities for Krosno and Sarny districts, the author states that the secular trend in stature that started in the mid-1860s continued between the two world wars with the velocity of at least 0.7 cm per decade, i.e. at a similar rate as in the second half of the 19th century. Although regional differences inside the Second Polish Republic were clearly visible, cohorts born during the Great War were able to make up the lost ground in their teens despite the hardships caused by the Great Depression of the 1930s...
January 7, 2019: Economics and Human Biology
Frank Heiland, Sanders Korenman, Rachel A Smith
Understanding the contribution of childbearing to social disadvantages of teenage mothers requires estimates that control for unobservables and generalize to teenage mothers. Sibling-differences and Instrumental Variables (IV) are common approaches to this end. Using the "Add Health" data, which oversampled siblings, and building on IV specifications from a widely-cited study, we compare various estimates of the consequences of teenage childbearing for schooling attainment. These IV-based estimates suggest moderate to large adverse impacts of teenage births (point estimates of -0...
December 28, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Dácil Juif, Gloria Quiroga
We use Spanish military records stemming from the late-19th to the mid-20th century to assess internal migrants' self-selection. We find that migrants were, on average over the whole period, around one centimeter taller than non-migrants, and in the booming 1920s, the height advantage of movers reached three centimeters. The positive self-selection was larger for migrants originating in poorer provinces and traveling longer distances. A further finding is that migrants were positively selected in terms of literacy and socio-economic status according to their occupation...
December 24, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Bartosz Ogórek
This study finds that a positive association between stature and academic performance measured by the grades for various subjects, the height-school premium, was present in a historical sample of 147 school boys attending a gymnasium (public secondary school) in Cracow, Poland, between the wars. This effect persists when controlling for a set of demographic and socio-economic variables, though the strength of the relationship is modest (0.018 higher average grade for Polish, 0.014 for mathematics, 0.016 for art, and 0...
December 21, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Daniel J Hruschka, Joseph V Hackman, Gert Stulp
Contemporary humans occupy the widest range of socioeconomic environments in their evolutionary history, and this has revealed unprecedented environmentally-induced plasticity in physical growth. This plasticity also has limits, and identifying those limits can help researchers: (1) parse when population differences arise from environmental inputs or not and (2) determine when it is possible to infer socioeconomic disparities from disparities in body form. To illustrate potential limits to environmental plasticity, we analyze body mass index (BMI) and height data from 1,768,962 women and 207,341 men (20-49 y) living in households exhibiting 1000-fold variation in household wealth (51 countries, 1985-2017, 164 surveys) across four world regions-sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and North Africa and the Middle East...
December 20, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Yohanes Sondang Kunto, Jornt J Mandemakers
Many pregnant Muslim women fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A number of studies have reported negative life outcomes in adulthood for children who were prenatally exposed to Ramadan. However, other studies document minimal to no impact on neonatal indicators. Using data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey consisting of 45,246 observations of 21,723 children born to 9771 mothers, we contribute to the current discussion on prenatal exposure to Ramadan by examining the effects on stature (height-for-age Z-scores, weight-for-age Z-scores, and body-mass-index-for-age Z-scores: HAZ, WAZ, and BAZ, respectively) from early childhood to late adolescence (0-19 years of age)...
December 19, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Alpaslan Akay, Peter Martinsson, Hilda Ralsmark
We investigate the relationship between relative concerns with respect to income and the quantity and quality of sleep using a 6-year panel dataset on the sleep behavior of people in Germany. We find a substantial negative association between relative income and number of hours of sleep and satisfaction with sleep, i.e., sleep quality, whereas there is no particular association between absolute level of income and sleep quantity and quality. A 10-percent increase in the income of relevant others is associated with 6-8 min decrease in a person's weekly amount of sleep on average, yet this effect is particularly strong among the relatively deprived, i...
December 11, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
John Komlos
Bodenhorn, Guinnane, and Mroz (2017) argue that the diminution of heights during the Industrial Revolution and in the Antebellum U.S. is an artefact of the biased nature of the samples analyzed. We demonstrate that it would be an unfathomable coincidence if men and women all self-selected into scores of completely independent samples in such a way as to bias them in the identical direction. Instead, wWe show that BGM's periodization is flawed and that their statistical models are misspecified, because they fail to consider the extent to which they introduce severe multicollinearity into their regressions...
December 7, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Pierre van der Eng, Kitae Sohn
This article analyses long-term changes in the mean age at menarche (MAM) as a biological indicator of changes in the standard of living in Indonesia. It finds that MAM was about 15.5 for birth cohorts in the late-19th century, decreasing to 14.5 by the 1930s, at which level it stagnated until the gradual decrease resumed since the early 1960s to around 12.5 in the mid-2000s. The article considers that long-term improvements in nutrition, educational attainment and health care explain these trends. An international comparison of long-term changes finds that MAM in Indonesia was much lower than in Korea and China until respectively 1970 and 1990, but comparable to Japan until 1950 and to Malaysia until 1930...
November 28, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Joachim H Schleifring, Francesco M Galassi, Michael E Habicht, Frank J Rühli
In this article, a complete history of Charlemagne's mortal remains is outlined, including the first publication reporting on the most recent tomb opening in 1988. Besides exclusive bioarchaeological details - namely that his body was indeed mummified - a full clinical interpretation of the Emperor's final illnesses and death is given: a likely combination of osteoarthritis, gout and a recurrent fever caused by an infectious disease.
November 27, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Karen Smith Conway, Jennifer Trudeau
This research investigates the effect of sun exposure on fertility, with a special focus on how its effects and consequences for birth outcomes may differ by race. Sun exposure is a key mechanism for obtaining Vitamin D, but this process is inhibited by skin pigmentation. Vitamin D has been linked to male and female fertility and risk of miscarriage, and Vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among blacks than whites. Using 1989-2004 individual live births data from the Natality Detail Files, county-level, monthly conceptions are estimated as a function of monthly solar insolation, temperature and humidity, as well as month, time and location fixed effects and controls...
November 16, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Roberto Duncan, Patricia Toledo
This study examines the long-term inequality in body mass index (BMI) based on convergence tests applied to a database of 172 countries recently published by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. First, we find that countries converge in clubs, which indicates that country disparities in BMIs will persist over time. Second, there are three and six convergence clubs in BMIs for female and male individuals, respectively. That is, we would not observe a single convergence pattern in body weights as the nutrition transition theory and the dietary convergence hypothesis seem to suggest...
November 10, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Paul A Ervin, Vit Bubak
Between 1997 and 2012, Paraguay achieved not only remarkable improvements in child nutrition, but also a surprising elimination of the rural-urban differential in child height-for-age Z score (HAZ) and stunting. Our decomposition analysis, applied to four rounds of Paraguayan National Household Surveys, allows us to directly infer not only the contributions of changes in determinants of child nutritional status to the improvements in child nutritional status in rural and urban areas, but also their contribution to closing the rural-urban gap...
November 7, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Huong Trinh Thi, Michel Simioni, Christine Thomas-Agnan
Vietnam is undergoing a nutritional transition like many middle-income countries. This transition is characterized by an increase in per capita total calorie intake resulting from an increase in the consumption of fat and protein while the carbohydrate consumption decreases. This paper proposes to highlight the sociodemographic drivers of this transition over the period 2004-2014, using Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey data. We implement a method of decomposition of between-year differences in economic outcomes recently proposed in the literature...
September 19, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Saseendran Pallikadavath
Janani Suraksha Yojana (safe motherhood scheme, or JSY) provides cash incentives to marginal pregnant women in India conditional on having mainly institutional delivery. Using the fourth round of district level household survey (DLHS-4), we have estimated its effects on both intended and unintended outcomes. Our estimates of average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) from propensity score matching are remarkably higher than those found in previous prominent studies using the second and third rounds of the survey (DLHS-2 and DLHS-3)...
September 14, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
Neeraj Kaushal, Julia Shu-Huah Wang, Xiaoning Huang
We investigate the education, health and mental health effects of state policies that allowed or explicitly banned tuition subsidy and financial aid to undocumented college students using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 1998-2013. Our analysis suggests that an explicit ban on tuition subsidy or enrollment in public colleges lowered college education of non-citizen Mexican young adults by 5.4-11.6 percentage points. We find some evidence that in-state tuition and access to financial aid improved self-reported health and reduced mental health distress, and ban on in-state-tuition/enrollment increased mental health distress among non-citizen Mexican young adults: estimated effects are generally significant in first-difference models and models that include state-specific cubic trends, and often insignificant in difference-in-difference models...
September 10, 2018: Economics and Human Biology
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