Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hatton and Martin - Poverty and Stature for British Children in the 1930s

The effects on stature of poverty, family size, and birth order: British children in the 1930s

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Author Info
Timothy J. Hatton
Richard M. Martin
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This article examines the effects of socio-economic conditions on the standardized heights and body mass index (BMI) of children in Interwar Britain, using the Boyd Orr cohort, a survey of predominantly poor families taken in 1937--9. We examine the trade-off between child quality (in the form of health outcomes) and the number of children in the family. We find that birth order and family size have negative effects on the heights of children, but not on their BMI. Household income per capita positively influences height but, even after accounting for this, the number of children in the family has a negative effect on height. This latter effect is closely associated with overcrowding and with the degree of cleanliness or hygiene in the household, which conditions exposure to factors predisposing to disease. We also analyse follow-up data, which indicates that the effects of family size on height persisted into adulthood. Copyright 2010 Oxford University Press 2009 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

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