The Impact of Child Malnutrition and Health on Cognitive Skills in Ethiopia: Using a Standard Panel Data Analysis
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Over the past two decades, Ethiopia has made significant progress in key human development indicators. Child mortality and nutrition have improved and primary school enrolments have increased. This study uses longitudinal data of 1813 strong young cohort and 443 of the old cohort—children in five regions in the country over two rounds from the Young Lives Survey. The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of child nutrition and health on their cognitive achievements measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) test score using a static panel model. The regression analysis shows that there is a positive association between child nutrition (measured by height-for-age WHO z-scores) and cognitive achievements in all age cohorts. This study also finds that, there are cognitive skill disparities among regions and between sexes and areas of residence. Therefore, the government must give due attention to the importance of nutrition for cognitive and educational development, and these must be integrated as a key component of early childhood care and development programs Since there are regional, residence, and gender disparities in the cognitive skills of the children in each cohort an appropriate nutritional strategy must be developed. In order to achieve long-run human capital development in Ethiopia, all domestic and international nongovernmental organizations have to support and finance the national plan to scale up the nutritional status of children in their early ages.
KeywordsChild nutrition Cognitive skills of children Panel data analysis Young Lives dataset of Ethiopia
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