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Abstract

This study analyzes the extent to which nutritional status in terms of weight change has been affected by the income distribution as the economy has grown. Is BMI growth different at different tails of the income distribution? Health and nutritional outcomes are not normally expected to be uniform across the income distribution and over time. Using recent individual level data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) from 1994 to 2012, we scrutinize the influence of transitional processes, particularly economic transitions on nutritional and health outcomes. We test the hypothesis that the income gradient of individual body weight growth (i.e. the relationship between income and BMI growth) follows an inverted U-shape and thus changes its sign from positive to negative in the process of economic development. For the case of Russia, we could not find clear evidence that the income-BMI-growth gradient has already shifted. Turning points have not yet been reached. Expenditure increases have significant positive effects on BMI levels and on BMI growth rates. Better educated women have lower BMI levels than women with less than secondary education whereas men who completed tertiary education have higher BMI levels than men with less than secondary education.

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