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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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  • Rolando Morales & Ana María Aguilar & Alvaro Calzadilla, 2005. "Undernutrition in Bolivia: Geography and Culture Matter," Research Department Publications 3185, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3185

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Behrman, Jere R., 1993. "The economic rationale for investing in nutrition in developing countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(11), pages 1749-1771, November.
    8. 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.
    9. Behrman, Jere R. & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "Correlates and determinants of child anthropometrics in Latin America: background and overview of the symposium," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 335-351, December.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Behrman, Jere R. & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2004. "Correlates and determinants of child anthropometrics in Latin America: background and overview of the symposium," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 335-351, December.
    2. Katleen Van den Broeck, 2007. "Child Height and Maternal Health Care Knowledge in Mozambique," Discussion Papers 07-30, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. World Bank, 2007. "Nutritional Failure in Ecuador : Causes, Consequences, and Solutions," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6651.

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