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Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights

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  • Akachi, Yoko
  • Canning, David

Abstract

We investigate trends in cohort infant mortality rates and adult heights in 39 developing countries since 1961. In most regions of the world improved nutrition, and reduced childhood exposure to disease, have lead to improvements in both infant mortality and adult stature. In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, despite declining infant mortality rates, adult heights have not increased. We argue that in Sub-Saharan Africa the decline in infant mortality may have been due to interventions that prevent infant deaths rather than improved nutrition and childhood morbidity. Despite declining infant mortality, Sub-Saharan Africa may not be experiencing increases in health human capital.

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  • Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2010. "Health trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: Conflicting evidence from infant mortality rates and adult heights," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 273-288, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:2:p:273-288
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    Cited by:

    1. Hohmann, Sophie & Garenne, Michel, 2010. "Health and wealth in Uzbekistan and sub-Saharan Africa in comparative perspective," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 346-360, December.
    2. Fernihough, Alan & McGovern, Mark E., 2015. "Physical stature decline and the health status of the elderly population in England," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 30-44.
    3. McGovern, Mark E., 2014. "Comparing the relationship between stature and later life health in six low and middle income countries," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 128-148.
    4. Elizabeth Frankenberg & Jessica Y. Ho & Duncan Thomas, 2015. "Biological Health Risks and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 21277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    6. de Beer, Hans, 2016. "The biological standard of living in Suriname, c. 1870–1975," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 140-154.
    7. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2015. "Inferring the economic standard of living and health from cohort height: Evidence from modern populations in developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 114-128.
    8. Coffey, Diane, 2015. "Early life mortality and height in Indian states," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 177-189.
    9. Anna-Maria Aksan, 2014. "Effects of Childhood Mortality and Morbidity on the Fertility Transition in sub-Saharan Africa," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 40(2), pages 311-329, June.
    10. Mahesh Karra & David Canning & Joshua Wilde, 2015. "A Simulation Model of the Effect of Fertility Reduction on Economic Growth in Africa," Working Papers 0315, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    11. Peracchi, Franco & Arcaleni, Emilia, 2011. "Early-life environment, height and BMI of young men in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 251-264, July.
    12. Jones, Kelly M. & de Brauw, Alan, 2015. "Using Agriculture to Improve Child Health: Promoting Orange Sweet Potatoes Reduces Diarrhea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 15-24.
    13. Alderman, Harold & Lokshin, Michael & Radyakin, Sergiy, 2011. "Tall claims: Mortality selection and the height of children in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 393-406.
    14. repec:spt:admaec:v:7:y:2017:i:6:f:7_6_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. 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.
    16. Aksan, Anna-Maria & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2013. "Twin Transitions," MPRA Paper 49929, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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