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The Mortality and Morbidity Transitions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Adult Heights

  • Yoko Akachi

    (European University Institute)

  • David Canning


    (Harvard School of Public Health)

In most developing countries, rising levels of nutrition and improvements in public health have led to declines in infant mortality and rising adult heights. In Sub-Saharan Africa we see a different pattern. Sub-Saharan Africa has seen large reductions in infant mortality over the last fifty years, but without any increase in protein and energy intake and against a background of stagnant, or declining, adult height. Adult height is a sensitive indicator of the nutrition and morbidity prevailing during the childhood of the cohort and can be taken as a measure of health human capital. Declining infant mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa appear to be driven by medical interventions that reduce infant mortality, rather than by broad based improvements in nutrition and public health measures, and may not be reflective of broad based health improvements.

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Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 3308.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:3308
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  11. Yoko Akachi & David Canning, 2007. "The Height of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Role of Health, Nutrition, and Income in Childhood," PGDA Working Papers 2207, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  12. John Komlos & Benjamin E. Lauderdale, 2007. "Underperformance in Affluence: The Remarkable Relative Decline in U.S. Heights in the Second Half of the 20th Century," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 283-305.
  13. Blackwell, Debra L. & Hayward, Mark D. & Crimmins, Eileen M., 2001. "Does childhood health affect chronic morbidity in later life?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1269-1284, April.
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