Maternal Education and Child Nutritional Status in Bolivia: Finding the Links

Michelle Bellessa Frost, Princeton University
David W. Haas, Brigham Young University
Renata Forste, Brigham Young University

This study models various pathways linking maternal education and child nutritional status in Bolivia, using both a national sample and a regional sample of women with children. Pathways examined include increased socioeconomic power, knowledge, modern attitudes towards health care, increased autonomy, and reproductive behaviors. Based on data from the 1998 Demographic and Health Survey, as well as the 2000 Family Interaction and Child Well-being Survey, we use logistic regression techniques to model the intervening effects of these pathways and determine the proportion of the maternal education effect explained by each. We find that socioeconomic power is the primary mechanism linking maternal education and child health. In addition, health knowledge, attitudes towards modern health care, and increased autonomy also play a weaker role as intervening factors. Reproductive behaviors is the weakest link between maternal education and child health, but it has an effect on child health independent of maternal education.

Presented in Session 59: Child and Youth Well-Being in Developing Countries