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Long-Term Health Effects on the Next Generation of Ramadan Fasting During Pregnancy

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  • Reyn van Ewijk

Abstract

Each year, many pregnant women fast from dawn to sunset during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Medical theory suggests that this may have negative long-term health effects on their offspring. Building upon the work of Almond and Mazumder (2008), and using Indonesian crosssectional data, I show that people who were exposed to Ramadan fasting during their mother's pregnancy have a poorer general health and are sick more often than people who were not exposed. This effect is especially pronounced among older people, who, when exposed, also report health problems more often that are indicative of coronary heart problems and type 2 diabetes. The exposed are a bit smaller in body size and weigh less. Among Muslims born during, and in the months after, Ramadan, the share of males is lower, which is most likely to be caused by death before birth. I show that these effects are unlikely to be an artifact of common health shocks, correlated to the occurrence of Ramadan, or o f fasting mainly occurring among women who, irrespective of fasting or not, would have had unhealthier children anyway.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0926.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0926

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: health; Ramadan; pregnancy; nutrition; Indonesia;

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  1. Lindeboom, Maarten & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2004. "Cut-Point Shift and Index Shift in Self-Reported Health," IZA Discussion Papers 1286, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "The effects of maternal fasting during Ramadan on birth and adult outcomes," Working Paper Series, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago WP-07-22, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
  4. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Phongsack Manivong & Leslie L. Roos, 2010. "Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
  5. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Maternal Fasting During Pregnancy," NBER Working Papers 14428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Sotomayor, Orlando, 2013. "Fetal and infant origins of diabetes and ill health: Evidence from Puerto Rico's 1928 and 1932 hurricanes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 281-293.
  2. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
  3. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2012. "Long-term Impacts of Rice Price and Production Seasonality on Human Capital: Evidence from Rural Indonesia," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, International Association of Agricultural Economists 126163, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Richter, André & Robling, Per Olof, 2013. "Multigenerational e ffects of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Sweden," Working Paper Series 5/2013, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  5. Lisa Schulkind, 2013. "Getting a Sporting Chance: Title IX and the Intergenerational Transmission of Health," Working Papers 1305, Trinity College, Department of Economics.
  6. Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Douglas Almond, 2012. "Long Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net," NBER Working Papers 18535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Buser, Thomas & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Plug, Erik & Ponce, Juan & Rosero, José, 2014. "The Impact of Positive and Negative Income Changes on the Height and Weight of Young Children," IZA Discussion Papers 8130, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder & Reyn van Ewijk, 2011. "Fasting During Pregnancy and Children's Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 17713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Filipe R. Campante & David H. Yanagizawa-Drott, 2013. "Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," NBER Working Papers 19768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2013. "Ramadan, fasting and educational outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 219-226.

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