The links between agricultural production and the nutritional status of children in rural Myanmar
This paper seeks to analyse and test empirically the relationship between household agricultural production and crop diversity on child nutritional status in rural Myanmar, using data from the nationally representative 2013 Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) survey. We are interested in analysing if higher agriculture production and greater crop diversity in the household translates into better nutritional status among children, measured using the three anthropometric measures height-for-age, weight-for-height and weight-for-age. The primary unit of analysis was the individual child aged between 7 and 60 months for whom complete information was available for all our variables of interest. We estimated a series of regression models to explain stunting, wasting and underweight outcomes among 1037 children aged 7–60 months. Our results show that: (i) 37% of the children in our sample were stunted, with stunting more prevalent among older children (aged 31–60 months), (ii) children from households where agriculture was the main income source had a lower probability of being wasted, and (iii) there was no statistically significant relationship between crop harvest size and child nutrition outcomes among agriculture households. Our results clearly suggest that agricultural own-production is important as a food safety net, mitigating acute malnutrition, but this fades away for non-acute measures, reiterating its relative unimportance in terms of the livelihood drivers of child nutrition outcomes.
KeywordsMyanmar Agricultural production diversity Child nutrition
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no Conflict of Interest.
- FAO, WFP, & IFAD. (2012). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012. https://www.fao.org/3/a-i3028e.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2015.
- FAO. (2013). The state of food and agriculture. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. (2017). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017. Building resilience for peace and food security. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Gillespie, S., Harris, J., Kadiyala, S. (2012). The Agriculture-Nutrition Disconnect in India: What Do We Know? Technical Report. IFPRI Discussion Paper, Washington DV. Downloaded from: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/1440425/. Accessed 5 December 2015.
- Pinstrup-Andersen, P. (2013a) Overview of nutrition-sensitive food systems: Policy options and knowledge gaps, ICN2 Technical Preparatory Meeting, FAO, www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/agn/pdf/NutSensitiveFoodSystems_FINAL.pdf
- Save the Children, WFP and the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development (2013). A Nutrition and Food Security Assessment of the Dry Zone of Myanmar in June and July 2013. https://www.wfp.org/sites/default/files/FINAL_Nutrition_and_Food_Security_Survey_of_the_DryZone_of_Myanmar_June_July_2013-100214_0.pdf. Accessed 5 December 2015.
- UNDP. (2011). IHLCA: Health and Nutrition Profile Report. Yangon: UNDP.Google Scholar
- Waterlow, J. C., Buzina, R., Keller, W., Lane, J., Nichaman, M., & Tanner, J. (1997). The Presentation and Use of Height and Weight Data for Comparing the Nutritional Status of Groups of Children Under the Age of 10 Years. Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, 55(489–498).Google Scholar
- WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group. (2006). Assessment of differences in linear growth among populations in the WHO multicentre growth reference study. Acta Paediatrica. Supplement, 450, 56–65.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2006). Repositioning nutrition as central to development: A strategy for large- scale action. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization [WHO]. (2006). WHO child growth standards: Length/height-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-length, weight-for-height and body mass index-for-age: Methods and development. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2006.tb02376.x/full.