The effects of maternal education versus cognitive test scores on child nutrition in Kenya
This paper estimates dynamic random effects models for intakes by 100 Kenyan school children (6-9 years) of dietary energy, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamins A, C, D, and E within a multivariate longitudinal framework. The explanatory variables were socioeconomic and background variables, children’s height and weight, and maternal education, cognitive test scores and morbidity spells. The model parameters were estimated using the maximum likelihood method controlling for the unobserved between-children differences. The main findings were, first, that while maternal education was usually not a significant predictor of the intakes, maternal scores on cognitive tests strongly predicted children’s dietary intakes. Second, the paternal cognitive scores and maternal morbidity levels were not significantly associated with the intakes. Third, an index of socioeconomic status and cash income was a significant predictor. The results indicated the need to consider broader measures of human development in developing countries and of implementing educational programs for women without school education.
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