The impact of community context on children's health and nutritional status in China

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Abstract

The link between community environment and individual health outcomes has been widely documented in Western literature, but little is known about whether community context influences children's health over and above individual characteristics in developing countries. This study examines how community socioeconomic status (SES) influences children's self-rated health and nutritional status in urban and rural China and explores whether the effects of community SES vary by a child's gender and family background. Using data from the China Family Penal Studies in 2010, this study focuses on children aged 10–15 years old living in 261 urban neighborhoods and 293 rural villages in China. Multilevel regression models are estimated to examine the effect of community SES on the probability of reporting poor/fair health and nutritional status measured by height for age while controlling for individual and family characteristics. The results suggest that community SES has a positive and curvilinear effect on children's health and nutritional status in urban China, and it only positively influences children's nutrition in rural China. Community SES has a stronger effect for boys than for girls, and for children in poorer families and families with lower levels of parental involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume179
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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