Ethnic Differentials in Risks of Childhood Anemia: Evidence from DHS Nepal
Yashas Vaidya, Brown University
Child undernutrition is a challenging aspect of the nutrition transition in developing countries—especially in South Asia, where its persistence is noted but poorly understood. This project provides evidence for the importance of cultural and societal contexts on nutrition. Using DHS data on child anemia from 2006 and 2011, preliminary analysis shows that even after adjusting for different socio-economic and environmental variables, ethnic group affiliation has a strong association with child undernutrition. Besides being linked to Protein Energy Malnutrition, anemia can also reflect nutritional deficiencies in micro-nutrients (iron and vitamin A) as well as exposure to malaria or parasitic infections, capturing the combinatory effects of undernutrition and infection on childhood health. Further analysis will investigate the attenuation of these ethnic differentials in anemia through mediation by factors like child dietary intake and maternal health history. These outcomes have important consequences, given the developmental and health impacts linked with undernutrition and infections.