The Global Epidemic of Childhood Obesity and Its Non-medical Costs

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This dissertation consists of three parts of empirical analyses investigating temporal patterns and consequences of (childhood) overweight and obesity, mainly in the United States and the People's Republic of China. Based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey, the first part conducts hierarchical age-period-cohort analyses of childhood overweight in China and finds a strong cohort effect driving the overweight epidemic. Results from the growth-curve models show that childhood overweight and underweight are related such that certain socio-economic groups with higher levels of childhood overweight also exhibit lower levels of childhood underweight. The second part situates the discussion on childhood obesity in a broader context. It compares temporal patterns of childhood overweight in China with these of adulthood overweight and finds that the salient cohort component is absent in rising adulthood overweight, which is dominated by strong period effects. A positive association between human development index and overweight/obesity prevalence across countries is also documented. Using multiple waves of survey data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the third part analyzes the (latent) trajectory of childhood overweight/obesity in the United States. It finds that individuals with obesity growth trajectories are less likely to avoid mental depression, tend to have higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of agreeableness/conscientiousness, and show less delinquent behaviors.






Fu, Qiang (2015). The Global Epidemic of Childhood Obesity and Its Non-medical Costs. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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