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A Simple Recipe: the Effect of a Prenatal Nutrition Program on Child Health at Birth

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  • Catherine Haeck

    () (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)

  • Pierre Lefebvre

    (Department of Economics, University of Quebec in Montreal)

Abstract

We study the impact of a Canadian prenatal nutrition program on child health at birth. The objective of the "oeuf-lait-orange" (eggs-milk-oranges) (OLO) program is to reduce the incidence of prematurity and low birth weight by providing a specific food basket and nutritional guidance to pregnant women in situations of poverty. Our identification strategy exploits exogenous variations in access to the program caused by the progressive implementation of the program. Using detailed administrative birth records for over 1.5 million newborns, we find that the program significantly increased the birth weight of treated children by 69.8 grams and reduced the probability of low birth weight by 3.6 percentage points. We also find that prematurity decreased by 2.2 percentage points and gestation increased by 1.5 days, but these effects are generally not significant. While the cost of the program is equivalent to the comparable United States Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the food basket is simpler and the gains on birth weight are larger.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Haeck & Pierre Lefebvre, 2014. "A Simple Recipe: the Effect of a Prenatal Nutrition Program on Child Health at Birth," Working Papers 14-01, Research Group on Human Capital, University of Quebec in Montreal's School of Management, revised May 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:grc:wpaper:14-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hope Corman & Dhaval Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2018. "Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 85(1), pages 6-47, July.
    2. Jones, Jordan W. & Courtemanche, Charles & Marton, James, 2018. "The Impacts of the Food Stamp Program on Mortality," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273845, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Lina Cardona-Sosa & Carlos Medina, 2016. "The Effects of In utero Programs on Birth Outcomes: The Case of “Buen Comienzo” *** El Efecto de Programas dirigidos a Madres Gestantes en Indicadores al Nacer: El caso de “Buen Comienzo”," Borradores de Economia 955, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. Hajdu, Tamás & Hajdu, Gábor, 2018. "Smoking ban and health at birth: Evidence from Hungary," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 37-47.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child health at birth; public program; prenatal nutrition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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