Research Brief #10: Measuring the Links Between Agriculture and Child Health in Nepal

Authors: Gerald Shively; Celeste Sununtnasuk; Molly Brown

We combine three distinct datasets to study the connections between agriculture and child health in Nepal. Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 2006 are merged on the basis of common GIS data points with satellite remote sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) composites. Using these data we explore the association between the NDVI, a monthly proxy for agricultural production, and nutrition outcomes in children under age 5. We also employ nationally representative data from the 2003‐2004 Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) to assess connections between district‐level agricultural characteristics and subsequent child growth outcomes. Findings quantify the importance of agriculture to child nutrition and demonstrate the potential value of satellite remote sensing variables such as the NDVI both for understanding observed patterns of nutrition risk and for early warning of household food insecurity.