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Will rising household incomes solve China's micronutrient deficiency problems?

By Y Liu and B Shankar

Abstract

Rapid economic growth in China has resulted in substantially improved household incomes. Diets have also changed, with a movement away from traditional foods and towards animal products and processed foods. Yet micronutrient deficiencies, particularly for calcium and vitamin A, are still widespread in China. In this research we model the determinants of the intakes of these micronutrients using household panel data, asking particularly whether continuing income increases are likely to cause the deficiencies to be overcome. Nonparametric kernel regressions and random effects panel regression models are employed. The results show a statistically significant but relatively small positive income effect on both nutrient intakes. The local availability of milk is seen to have a strong positive effect on intakes of both micronutrients. Thus, rather than relying on increasing incomes to overcome deficiencies, supplementary government policies, such as school milk programmes, may be warranted

Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:8838
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