Is Mother’s Education Protective against Child’s Malnutrition in Developing Countries? The Mediating Role of Feeding Choices in 39 Developing Countries

Francesca Luppi, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Matteo Migheli

The relationship between mother’s education and children’s health has been widely studied and often a positive relationship has been found. The extant literature also shows that, especially in developing countries, children’s health depends on feeding practices during their first months of life. In particular, the WHO recommends to exclusively breastfeed 0-6 months children because it reduces the risk of malnutrition. The positive effect of mother’s education on children’s health may also be mediated by feeding practices. Using a sample of mothers with 0-6 months children in 39 developing countries from the Demographic and Health Survey, we investigate the association between mother’s education and child malnutrition as mediated by feeding practices. Our results show that mother’s education is strongly mediated by the infant feeding practices; the strength and the sign of the effect and of the mediation depend on the level of economic development and gender equality of the country.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality