The intergenerational transmission of BMI in China

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Abstract

Based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey longitudinal data from 1989 to 2009 and using BMI z-score as the measure of adiposity, we estimate the intergenerational transmission of BMI in China. The OLS estimates suggest that a one standard deviation increase in father's or mother's BMI is associated with an increase of around 20% in child's Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score. These estimates decrease to around 14% when we control for family fixed effects. We examine the heterogeneity of this BMI intergenerational transmission process across family income, parental occupation and poverty status and also find this intergenerational correlation tends to be higher among children of higher BMI levels, though this tendency becomes weaker as children approach adulthood.

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