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Nutritional status and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, 1950-1980

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  • Moradi, Alexander

Abstract

How did nutritional status develop in sub-Saharan Africa during the second half of the 20th century, and what role did economic development play in nutrition and health? Aggregating data from more than 200,000 women in 28 sub-Saharan African countries, we use mean height as an indicator of net nutritional status and find that the nutritional status of 1960 birth cohorts was relatively high. This situation, however, was not sustained. In almost all countries examined, mean heights were stagnating or decreasing after the 1970 cohorts. Using regression analysis we model human growth from birth to maturity, and find that economic growth had a significant and robust influence on final adult height at two distinct periods of the life cycle: (1) in the first years of life and (2) at puberty. We conclude that the economic difficulties of the late 1970s and 1980s contributed to the decline or stagnation in heights.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 16-29

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:16-29

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Nutrition Health Income Anthropometry Sub-Saharan Africa;

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  1. Baten, Jorg & Murray, John E., 2000. "Heights of Men and Women in 19th-Century Bavaria: Economic, Nutritional, and Disease Influences," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 351-369, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Akresh & Sonia Bhalotra & Marinella Leone & Una Okonkwo Osili, 2012. "War and Stature: Growing Up during the Nigerian Civil War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 273-77, May.
  2. Jerven , Morten & Austin , Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche , Chibuike & Frankema , Ewout & Fourie , Johan & Inikori , Joseph & Moradi , Alexander & Hillbom , Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History: Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," African Economic History Working Paper 1/2012, African Economic History Network.
  3. Denis Cogneau & Rémi Jedwab, 2010. "Commodity Price Shocks and Child Outcomes: The 1990 Cocoa Crisis in Cote d'Ivoire," PSE Working Papers halshs-00967328, HAL.
  4. Denis Cogneau & Remi Jedwab, 2008. "Family Income and Child Outcomes:The 1990 Cocoa Price Shock in Cote d'Ivoire," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  5. Blum, Matthias, 2013. "The influence of inequality on the standard of living: Worldwide anthropometric evidence from the 19th and 20th centuries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 436-452.
  6. Alexander Moradi, 2010. "Selective Mortality or Growth after Childhood?� What Really is Key to Understand the Puzzlingly Tall Adult Heights in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2010-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Denis Cogneau & Léa Rouanet, 2009. "Living Conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Western Africa 1925-1985: What Do Survey Data on Height Stature Tell Us?," Working Papers DT/2009/12, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  8. Kalle Hirvonen, 2013. "Measuring catch-up growth in malnourished populations," Working Paper Series 5913, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
  9. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human Development in Africa: A Long-Run Perspective," Working Papers 0008, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  10. Casabonne, Ursula & Kenny, Charles, 2012. "The Best Things in Life are (Nearly) Free: Technology, Knowledge, and Global Health," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 21-35.
  11. Klasen, Stephan & Günther, Isabel, 2007. "Measuring Chronic Non-Income Poverty," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 10, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.

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