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Iron status, malaria parasite loads and food policies: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa


  • Bhargava, Alok


This brief article investigates the consequences of improving children's iron status for malaria parasite loads by analyzing data from Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, and Tanzania; the treatment of iron deficiencies has been argued to flare up malaria in under-nourished populations. The data from a randomized controlled trial in Cote d’Ivoire showed statistically insignificant effects of the consumption of iron-fortified biscuits on children's malaria parasite loads. Second, nutrient intakes data from Zambia showed insignificant correlations and associations between children's iron and folate intakes and malaria parasite loads. Third, malaria parasite loads did not change significantly for Tanzanian children receiving anthelmintic treatment; malaria loads were lower for older children and for those using bed nets. Overall, the evidence from sub-Saharan African countries suggests that small improvements in iron status achieved via suitable food policies are unlikely to have detrimental effects for children's malaria parasite loads.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhargava, Alok, 2013. "Iron status, malaria parasite loads and food policies: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 108-112.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:108-112 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.02.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bhargava, Alok & Fox-Kean, Melanie, 2003. "The effects of maternal education versus cognitive test scores on child nutrition in Kenya," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 309-319, December.
    2. Bhargava, Alok, 2012. "Food, Economics, and Health," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199663910.
    3. Alok Bhargava, 2006. "Identification and Panel Data Models with Endogenous Regressors," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Econometrics, Statistics And Computational Approaches In Food And Health Sciences, chapter 3, pages 49-60 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Bhargava, Alok, 2008. "Randomized controlled experiments in health and social sciences: Some conceptual issues," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 293-298, July.
    5. Alderman, Harold & Hoogeveen, Hans & Rossi, Mariacristina, 2006. "Reducing child malnutrition in Tanzania: Combined effects of income growth and program interventions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Demombynes, Gabriel & Trommlerová, Sofia Karina, 2016. "What has driven the decline of infant mortality in Kenya in the 2000s?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 17-32.

    More about this item


    Africa; Anthelmintic treatment; Food policies; Health; Iron supplementation; Malaria parasite loads; Randomized controlled trials; Random effects models;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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