Does Rapid Economic Development Translate into Improved Nutritional Status for Children? Data from Ibo Island, Mozambique

Sara Lopus, University of California, Berkeley

This paper investigates household asset accumulation and investments in children’s nutritional capital for a rapidly developing Mozambican community. Cross-sectional and individual fixed effects models investigate changes in stunting, wasting, and household asset ownership between 2009 and 2012. Stunting and wasting of children under 10 years old declined dramatically over the three-year study period (stunting from 45.7% to 33.5%; wasting from 16.9% to 11.0%). Improvements in stunting Z-scores were strongly positively related to children’s baseline 2009 household wealth indices. Wasting Z-score and wealth quintile were strongly positively correlated in both 2009 and 2012, but improvements in wasting Z-scores were not related to baseline wealth. Stunting Z-scores indicate that, for households in the bottom wealth quintile, asset accumulation occurs simultaneously with nutritional investments, representing a multi-faceted rise out of poverty. Many of the bottom-quintile households maintained their disadvantaged positions over the study period, having invested in neither assets nor improved nutrition.

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Presented in Session 219: Economic Circumstances, Child Health, and Well-Being