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Child health, its dynamic interaction with nutrition and health memory – Evidence from Senegal

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  • Rieger, Matthias
  • Wagner, Natascha

Abstract

Child malnutrition is pervasive in developing countries and anthropometric measures such as weight-for-height and height-for-age have proven reliable indicators of short term malnutrition and stunting. Rather than studying these indicators separately, we look at their interaction and carve out child health dynamics. Considering height-for-age a child's health stock and weight-for-lagged height a proxy for nutritional inputs, we develop a child health production function that features self-productivity of past health stocks and contemporaneous nutritional inputs. We test the model on a Senegalese panel of 271 children between 0 and 5 years employing dynamic panel methods to control for endogeneity in the production function. In line with previous evidence, we find that children can partially catch-up from malnutrition spells. Yet, child health stocks also deplete quickly and need constant updating in the form of nutrition. This demonstrates the importance of health memory and that malnutrition cannot be fought with snapshot interventions. Consequently, sustainable nutrition interventions have to be long term and yield higher returns the earlier they reach children.

Suggested Citation

  • Rieger, Matthias & Wagner, Natascha, 2015. "Child health, its dynamic interaction with nutrition and health memory – Evidence from Senegal," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 135-145.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:16:y:2015:i:c:p:135-145
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2014.03.001
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bauer, Jan M. & Mburu, Samuel, 2017. "Effects of drought on child health in Marsabit District, Northern Kenya," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 74-79.
    3. Arndt, Channing & Hussain, M. Azhar & Salvucci, Vincenzo & Østerdal, Lars Peter, 2016. "Effects of food price shocks on child malnutrition: The Mozambican experience 2008/2009," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 1-13.
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    5. Matthias Rieger & Sofia Karina Trommlerová, 2016. "Age-Specific Correlates of Child Growth," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(1), pages 241-267, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child health production; Height-for-age; Weight-for-height; Health memory; Dynamic panel regression; Malnutrition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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