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Nonlinear effects of altitude on child growth in Peru : a multilevel analysis

Author

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  • Marini, Alessandra
  • Gragnolati, Michele

Abstract

Growth at high altitude has been the object of many investigations after experimental studies on animals showed that hypoxia at high altitude slows growth. Many studies have also looked at the Andean populations and found different results. Even though a few studies find that individuals living at high altitudes are smaller than the ones living at low altitudes, a significant group of studies does not reveal such a clear relationship. This study focuses on Peru, a country characterized by a diverse territory, great altitude variations, and a population with a wide socioeconomic gradient. The analysis differs from previous studies in three ways. First, in an attempt to reconcile the main findings of the biological literature with the economic models of child health, it explores the relationship between altitude and child health within a multivariate framework. Second, it benefits from a large spectrum of altitude data and does not concentrate on one or two isolated villages. Third, it takes into account the cluster nature of the data and controls for correlation of variables in the same cluster through multilevel statistical modeling. After controlling for characteristics of the children, families, and communities, the data show a significant nonlinear relationship between altitude and child nutritional status. Peruvian children living at medium/high altitudes appear to be worse off than children living at extremely high altitudes, where the negative effect of hypoxia on growth could be compensated by other favorable health and environmental conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Marini, Alessandra & Gragnolati, Michele, 2006. "Nonlinear effects of altitude on child growth in Peru : a multilevel analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3823, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3823
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
    2. Horton, Susan, 1988. "Birth Order and Child Nutritional Status: Evidence from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 341-354, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wehby, George L. & Castilla, Eduardo E. & Lopez-Camelo, Jorge, 2010. "The impact of altitude on infant health in South America," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 197-211, July.
    2. Álvarez, Begoña & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2013. "Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1194-1204.
    3. World Bank, 2007. "Nutritional Failure in Ecuador : Causes, Consequences, and Solutions," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6651.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Street Children; Youth and Governance; Early Child and Children's Health; Adolescent Health;

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