India is facing a public health problem of both over-nutrition and persistent under-nutrition. This paper studies the transition in body mass index distribution in India from 2005/2006 to 2015/2016. The change in the distribution is characterized not only by a locational shift but also a shape change. As well as the mean difference decomposition, this study implements a quantile decomposition analysis and decomposes the differentials at various quantile points of the distributions. For both men and women, the largest increases are observed in the middle and upper quantiles of the distribution. These increases are well explained by the changes in the individual’s characteristics. The improvement in living standards makes a significant contribution to the increase in BMI at the right tail of the distribution, where its higher relative importance is observed. This study shows new evidence for the substantial heterogeneity of the contributory factors and their impacts across the distribution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas