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Undernutrition in Bolivia: Geography and Culture Matter

  • Rolando Morales
  • Ana María Aguilar
  • Alvaro Calzadilla

The prevalence of health problems and malnutrition in Bolivia is shockingly high, even relative to other developing countries. This study analyzes the association between a bidimensional measure of child health -composed of height and weight z-scores -and a set of child nutrition determinants related to physical and cultural contexts, the mother`s characteristics, household assets and access to public services. The paper seeks to identify the main determinants of child health and to measure the impact of each factor related to the bidimensional indicator. A sequential strategy is adopted in order to estimate a two-equation linear model with correlated error terms. A major finding is that geographical and cultural variables are significant determinants of nutritional status, and that the role of the mother`s anthropometrical characteristics is substantial. This study uses data from a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) on over 3,000 children.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3185.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3185
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  1. Jere R. Behrman & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2004. "Correlates and Determinants of Child Anthropometrics in Latin America: Background and Overview of the Symposium," Research Department Publications 3191, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Smith, Lisa C. & Haddad, Lawrence James, 2000. "Overcoming child malnutrition in developing countries," 2020 vision briefs 64, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Behrman, Jere R. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "More evidence on nutrition demand : Income seems overrated and women's schooling underemphasized," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 105-128.
  4. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  5. Jere R. Behrman & Anil B. Deolalikar, 1990. "The Intrahousehold Demand for Nutrients in Rural South India: Individual Estimates, Fixed Effects, and Permanent Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 665-696.
  6. Haddad, Lawrence James & Alderman, Harold & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Reducing child undernutrition," FCND briefs 137, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Barrera, Albino, 1990. "The role of maternal schooling and its interaction with public health programs in child health production," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-91, January.
  8. Ruel, Marie T. & Levin, Carol E. & Armar-Klemesu, Margaret & Maxwell, Daniel & Morris, Saul S., 1999. "Good Care Practices Can Mitigate the Negative Effects of Poverty and Low Maternal Schooling on Children's Nutritional Status: Evidence from Accra," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1993-2009, November.
  9. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E, 1998. "On Measuring Literacy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1733-49, November.
  10. Duncan Thomas & John Strauss & Maria-Helena Henriques, 1991. "How Does Mother's Education Affect Child Height?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 183-211.
  11. Gibson, John, 2002. "The effect of endogeneity and measurement error bias on models of the risk of child stunting," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 179-185.
  12. Thomas, D., 1995. "Like Father, Like Son, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Parental Resources and Child Height," Papers 95-01, RAND - Reprint Series.
  13. Behrman, Jere R., 1993. "The economic rationale for investing in nutrition in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(11), pages 1749-1771, November.
  14. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
  15. Emmanuel Skoufias, 1999. "Parental Education and child Nutrition in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 99-119.
  16. Patrick Webb & Steven Block, 2003. "Nutrition Knowledge and Parental Schooling as Inputs to Child Nutrition in the Long and Short Run," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 21, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
  17. Vani K. Borooah, 2002. "The Role of Maternal Literacy in Reducing the Risk of Child Malnutrition in India," ICER Working Papers 31-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
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