Low Birth Weight in Kenya: Examining the Impact of Local Food Prices

Kathryn Grace, University of Utah
Molly Brown, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Low birth weight babies are less likely to grow into healthy and economically productive members of society. Theoretical models link low birth weight to a variety of factors including maternal health care during pregnancy, socioeconomic status, maternal nutrition and environmental factors. In this analysis we focus on the impact of local food prices on pregnancies of Kenyan women. Local food prices reflect both the supply of food in subsistence societies like much of Kenya, and provide an indication of food accessibility. Using spatially referenced Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data and monthly maize pricing information, we link individual pregnancies to the locally relevant market and livelihood characteristics. The results of the analysis can then be used to help quantify the human health impacts of reduced supply of food as well as facilitate targeted policy efforts to improve health during times of price increases.

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Presented in Session 154: Environmental Influences on Child Health