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The Determinants of Child Weight and Height in Sri Lanka: A Quantile Regression Approach

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  • Aturupane, Harsha
  • Deolalikar, Anil B.
  • Gunewardena, Dileni

Abstract

Reducing child malnutrition is a key goal of most developing countries. To combat child malnutrition with the right set of interventions, policymakers need to have a better understanding of its economic, social and policy determinants. While there is a large literature that investigates the determinants of child malnutrition, it focuses almost exclusively on mean effects of these determinants. However, socioeconomic background variables and policy interventions may affect child nutrition differently at different points of the conditional nutritional distribution. Using quantile regressions, this paper explores the effects of variables such as a child?s age, sex and birth order; household expenditure per capita; parental schooling; and infrastructure on child weight and height at different points of the conditional distributions of weight and height using data from Sri Lanka?s Demographic and Health Survey. Results indicate that OLS estimates can be misleading in predicting the effects of determinants at the lower end of the distributions of weight and height. For example, even though on average Sri Lankan girls are not nutritionally-disadvantaged relative to boys, among children at the highest risk of malnutrition girls are disadvantaged relative to boys. Likewise, although expenditure per capita is associated with strong nutritional improvement on average, it is not a significant determinant of child height or weight at the lower end of the distribution. Similarly, parental education, electricity access, and the availability of piped water have larger effects on child weight and height at the upper quantiles than at the lower quantiles. The policy implication is that general interventions?parental schooling, infrastructure and income growth?are not as effective for children in the lower tail of the conditional weight and height distributions. These children, who are at the highest risk of malnutrition, are likely to need specialized nutritional interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Aturupane, Harsha & Deolalikar, Anil B. & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2008. "The Determinants of Child Weight and Height in Sri Lanka: A Quantile Regression Approach," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2008-53
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Azzarri, Carlo & Zezza, Alberto, 2011. "International migration and nutritional outcomes in Tajikistan," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 54-70, February.
    2. Shiratori, Sakiko, 2014. "Determinants of Child Malnutrition in Tanzania: a Quantile Regression Approach," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170304, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Katsushi S. Imai & Samuel Kobina Annim & Raghav Gaiha & Veena S. Kulkarni, 2012. "Does Women's Empowerment Reduce Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India?," Discussion Paper Series DP2012-11, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Dec 2012.
    4. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Nadia Belhaj Hassine & Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, 2012. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Child Health In The Arab World And Turkey," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(02), pages 1-37.
    5. Burchi, Francesco, 2010. "Child nutrition in Mozambique in 2003: The role of mother's schooling and nutrition knowledge," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 331-345, December.
    6. Imai, Katsushi S. & Annim, Samuel Kobina & Kulkarni, Veena S. & Gaiha, Raghav, 2014. "Women’s Empowerment and Prevalence of Stunted and Underweight Children in Rural India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 88-105.
    7. Sweeney, Stuart & Davenport, Frank & Grace, Kathryn, 2013. "Combining insights from quantile and ordinal regression: Child malnutrition in Guatemala," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 164-177.
    8. Ajieroh, Victor, 2009. "A quantitative analysis of determinants of child and maternal malnutrition in Nigeria:," NSSP working papers 10, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Tasnim Khan & Rana Ejaz Ali Khan & Muhammad Ali Raza, 2015. "Gender Analysis of Malnutrition: A Case Study of School-Going Children in Bahawalpur," Asian Development Policy Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(2), pages 29-48, June.
    10. Balcázar, Carlos Felipe, 2015. "Lower bounds on inequality of opportunity and measurement error," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 102-105.
    11. Katsushi S. Imai & Samuel Kobina Annim & Veena S. Kulkarni & Raghav Gaiha, 2012. "Nutrition, Activity Intensity and Wage Linkages: Evidence from India," Discussion Paper Series DP2012-10, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised May 2014.
    12. Sumarto, Sudarno & de Silva, Indunil, 2015. "Child Malnutrition in Indonesia: Can Education, Sanitation and Healthcare Augment the Role of Income?," MPRA Paper 66631, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Sep 2015.
    13. Shenggen Fan & Joanna Brzeska, 2015. "The Nexus between Agriculture and Nutrition: Do Growth Patterns and Conditional Factors Matter?," Working Papers id:7519, eSocialSciences.

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    Keywords

    child health; child nutrition; malnutrition; child weight; child height; quantile regression; Sri Lanka;

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