Infrastructure mitigates the sensitivity of child growth to local agriculture and rainfall in Nepal and Uganda

Authors: Gerald Shively Journal: Proceedings of the Nat. Academy of Sciences of US

Incorporating agriculture into nutrition policy requires an understanding of how agricultural performance, rainfall, and the economic and physical environments in which children reside relate to linear growth and weight gain. This paper combines anthropometric data from children below the age of 5 y in Nepal and Uganda with rainfall data and other information to measure these connections. Anthropometric outcomes are positively correlated with rainfall prior to birth, during the first year, and during agricultural growing seasons preceding child measurement. High rainfall is found to be deleterious to child growth in some settings. Evidence points to the need for agricultural adaptation to low rainfall, as well as broadly based economic development, including continued investments in health and transport infrastructure, to help improve child nutrition.