Nineteenth Century Weight in the United States: Revaluating Net Nutrition During Economic Development

35 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015

See all articles by Scott A. Carson

Scott A. Carson

University of Texas of the Permian Basin; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: September 21, 2015

Abstract

Heights and body mass index values (BMIs) are now well accepted measures that reflect net nutrition during economic development and institutional change. This study uses 19th century weights instead of BMIs to measure factors associated with current net nutrition. Across the weight distribution and throughout the 19th century, white and black average weights decreased by 8.5 and 6.3 percent, respectively. Farmers and unskilled workers had positive weight returns associated with rural agricultural lifestyles. Weights in the Deep South were greater than other regions within the US, indicating that while Southern infectious disease rates were high, Southern current net nutrition was better than elsewhere within the US.

Keywords: weight, biological measurements, 19th century health, quantile estimation

JEL Classification: I100, J110, J710, N310

Suggested Citation

Carson, Scott A., Nineteenth Century Weight in the United States: Revaluating Net Nutrition During Economic Development (September 21, 2015). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5499, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2669367

Scott A. Carson (Contact Author)

University of Texas of the Permian Basin ( email )

4901 East University
Odessa, TX 79762
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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