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Improving the Health and Education of Elementary Schoolchildren in Rural China: Iron Supplementation Versus Nutritional Training for Parents


  • Ho Lun Wong
  • Yaojiang Shi
  • Renfu Luo
  • Linxiu Zhang
  • Scott Rozelle


We report on the results of a randomised controlled trial conducted among over 2,000 children in 60 elementary schools in rural Shaanxi Province, North-west China. We find that providing children with daily iron supplements for six months improved children's haemoglobin levels and standardised maths scores. In comparison, educating parents about nutrition and anaemia in a special parents meeting produced a modest impact on children's haemoglobin levels. We also find heterogeneous intervention effects by children's gender, anaemia status and boarding status. Overall, iron supplementation is more effective. However, given its low cost and simple implementation, parental education should still be considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho Lun Wong & Yaojiang Shi & Renfu Luo & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle, 2014. "Improving the Health and Education of Elementary Schoolchildren in Rural China: Iron Supplementation Versus Nutritional Training for Parents," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(4), pages 502-519, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:50:y:2014:i:4:p:502-519
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2013.866223

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fitzsimons, Emla & Malde, Bansi & Mesnard, Alice & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2012. "Household Responses to Information on Child Nutrition: Experimental Evidence from Malawi," CEPR Discussion Papers 8915, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marion Krämer & Santosh Kumar & Sebastian Vollmer, "undated". "Anemia, diet, and cognitive development: Impact of health information on diet quality and child nutrition in rural India," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 265, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Siebert, W. Stanley & Wei, Xiangdong & Wong, Ho Lun & Zhou, Xiang, 2018. "Student Feedback, Parent-Teacher Communication, and Academic Performance: Experimental Evidence from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 11347, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Daniel Bennett & Asjad Naqvi & Wolf‐Peter Schmidt, 2018. "Learning, Hygiene and Traditional Medicine," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 545-574, July.

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