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Stunted from the Start: Early Life Weather Conditions and Child Undernutrition in Ethiopia

Citation

Randell, Heather; Gray, Clark L.; & Grace, Kathryn (2020). Stunted from the Start: Early Life Weather Conditions and Child Undernutrition in Ethiopia. Social Science & Medicine, 261, 113234.

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between weather conditions and child nutrition in Ethiopia. We link data from four rounds of the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey to high-resolution climate data to measure exposure to rainfall and temperature in utero and during early life. We then estimate a set of multivariate regression models to understand how weather conditions impact child stunting, an indicator of sustained early life undernutrition. We find that greater rainfall during the rainy seasons in early life is associated with greater height for age. In addition, higher temperatures in utero, particularly during the first and third trimesters, and more rainfall during the third trimester, are positively associated with severe stunting, though stunting decreases with temperature in early life. We find potential evidence for a number of pathways underlying the weather-child nutrition relationship including agricultural livelihoods, heat stress, infectious disease transmission, and women's time use during pregnancy. These findings illuminate the complex pathways through which climate change may influence child health and should motivate additional research focused on identifying the causal mechanisms underlying these links.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113234

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Social Science & Medicine

Author(s)

Randell, Heather
Gray, Clark L.
Grace, Kathryn

Year Published

2020

Volume Number

261

Pages

113234

Reference ID

13082