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Infant Feeding and Cohort Health: Evidence from the London Foundling Hospital

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  • Arthi, Vellore
  • Schneider, Eric

Abstract

What was the relationship between breastfeeding and cohort health in the past? We examine this question using a rich new source of longitudinal data on nearly 1,000 children from London's Foundling Hospital (1892-1919). Specifically, we test the association between the feeding regime in infancy and subsequent health, as manifested in mortality risk and anthropometric growth at later points in childhood and adolescence. We find that breastfeeding was positively associated with both survival and weight-for-age in infancy, with scarring dominating culling on net. However, infant-weight gradients in catch-up growth ensured that by mid childhood, these initial feeding-related health differentials had disappeared.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthi, Vellore & Schneider, Eric, 2017. "Infant Feeding and Cohort Health: Evidence from the London Foundling Hospital," CEPR Discussion Papers 12165, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12165
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ward, W. Peter, 2003. "Perinatal mortality in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1880-1940," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 379-398, December.
    2. Eric B. Schneider, 2016. "Health, Gender and the Household: Children’s Growth in the Marcella Street Home, Boston, MA, and the Ashford School, London, UK," Research in Economic History,in: Research in Economic History, volume 32, pages 277-361 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    3. Schneider, Eric B., 2017. "Fetal health stagnation: Have health conditions in utero improved in the United States and Western and Northern Europe over the past 150 years?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 18-26.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schneider, Eric B., 2018. "Sample selection biases and the historical growth pattern of children," Economic History Working Papers 87075, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anthropometric growth; Breastfeeding; Early-life health; Mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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