Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition

Abstract

This paper explores the long-term consequences of shocks on children's health and education using longitudinal data from rural Zimbabwe. We link exposure to the war preceding Zimbabwe's independence and the 1982-84 drought to the health status of the children in our sample (as measured by their height-for-age in 1983, 1984 and 1987) and to their health and educational attainments as adolescents measured in 2000. Instrumental variables- maternal fixed effects estimates show a statistically significant relationship between height-for -age in children under 5 and height attained as a young adult, the number of grades of schooling completed and the age at which the child starts school. Exposure to the 1982-84 drought resulted in a loss of stature of 2.3 centimeters, 0.4 grades of schooling, and a delay in starting school of 3.7 months. Had the median preschool child in this sample had the stature of a median child in a developed country, by adolescence, she would be 4.6 centimeters taller, had completed an additional 0.7 grades of schooling and would have started school seven months earlier. We present calculations that suggest that this loss of stature, schooling and potential work experience results in a loss of lifetime earnings of 7 - 12 percent and that such estimates are likely to be lower bounds of the true losses.

Citation

Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition, presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 32 pp.

Long Term Consequences Of Early Childhood Malnutrition

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