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Animal sourced foods and child stunting

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  • Headey, Derek
  • Hirvonen, Kalle
  • Hoddinott, John

Abstract

Stunting affects 160 million pre-school children around the world, and imposes significant costs on a child’s health, cognitive development, schooling and economic performance. Stunting in early childhood has been linked to poor dietary diversity, notably low intake of animal-sourced foods (ASFs) rich in high quality protein and other growth-stimulating nutrients. Surprisingly, however, very little economic research has focused on ASFs and child growth. In this paper we redress this omission through an analysis of 112,553 children aged 6-23 months from 46 countries. We first document distinctive patterns of ASF consumption among children in different regions, particularly highly variable patterns of dairy consumption, low consumption of eggs and meat, and surprisingly frequent consumption of fish in several poor regions of Africa and Asia. We then examine how ASF consumption is associated with child stunting in multivariate models saturated with control variables. We find strong associations with a generic ASF consumption indicator as well as with fish and dairy consumption. Finally, we explore why ASF consumption is low but also so variable. We show that non-tradable ASFs (fresh milk, eggs) are a very expensive source of calories in low income countries, and that caloric prices of these foods are strongly associated with children’s consumption patterns. A host of other demand-side factors are also important, but the strong influence of prices implies an important role for agricultural policies – in production, marketing and trade – to improve the accessibility and affordability of ASFs in poorer countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Headey, Derek & Hirvonen, Kalle & Hoddinott, John, 2017. "Animal sourced foods and child stunting," 2018 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 265863, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:assa18:265863
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.265863
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    5. O'Meare, L. & Pincus, L. & Ratha, B.C., 2020. "Standard Operating Procedure: Inclusion of small fish in Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP): Pilot study in Odisha, India," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 40874, June.
    6. Rumana Akter & Shakuntala H. Thilsted & Nazia Hossain & Hiroe Ishihara & Nobuyuki Yagi, 2019. "Fish is the Preferred Animal-Source Food in the Rural Community of Southern Bangladesh," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(20), pages 1-13, October.
    7. Chris Vogliano & Jessica E. Raneri & Jane Coad & Shane Tutua & Carol Wham & Carl Lachat & Barbara Burlingame, 2021. "Dietary agrobiodiversity for improved nutrition and health outcomes within a transitioning indigenous Solomon Island food system," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 13(4), pages 819-847, August.
    8. Conner Mullally & Mayra Rivas & Travis McArthur, 2021. "Using Machine Learning to Estimate the Heterogeneous Effects of Livestock Transfers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(3), pages 1058-1081, May.
    9. Menon, Nidhiya & McQueeney, Kathleen, 2020. "Christianity and girl child health in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    10. Harold Alderman & Derek Headey, 2018. "The timing of growth faltering has important implications for observational analyses of the underlying determinants of nutrition outcomes," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(4), pages 1-16, April.
    11. Enahoro, Dolapo & Sircely, Jason & Boone, Randall B. & Oloo, Stephen & Komarek, Adam M. & Bahta, Sirak & Herrero, Mario & Rich, Karl M., 2021. "Feed biomass production may not be sufficient to support emerging livestock demand: Model projections to 2050 in Southern Africa," SocArXiv qmdrt, Center for Open Science.
    12. Fukase, Emiko & Martin, Will, 2020. "Economic growth, convergence, and world food demand and supply," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
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    15. Raghunathan, Kalyani & Headey, Derek & Herforth, Anna, 2021. "Affordability of nutritious diets in rural India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
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    17. Fang, Peixun & Belton, Ben & Zhang, Xiaobo & Ei Win, Hnin, 2021. "Impacts of COVID-19 on Myanmar's chicken and egg sector, with implications for the sustainable development goals," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).
    18. Shikuku, Kelvin Mashisia & Tran, Nhuong & Joffre, Olivier M. & Islam, Abu Hayat Md Saiful & Barman, Benoy Kumar & Ali, Shawquat & Rossignoli, Cristiano M., 2021. "Lock-ins to the dissemination of genetically improved fish seeds," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).

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    Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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