Child undernutrition and women’s empowerment in Brazil

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: Child undernutrition is a worldwide problem with dire consequences that compromises the quality of life and economic growth on different scales (individual, household and community). It affects mainly highly vulnerable populations. Maternal characteristics have proven to be key determinants for child nutritional status. Recently, Brazil has been considered to be a role model in how to fight undernutrition. Nonetheless, the country has a long way to go as it still faces extreme poverty and high levels of gender and income distribution inequality. This paper intended to understand the determining factors leading to child undernutrition of children under the age of 5 years in the Brazilian scenario. This paper used a microeconomic approach by focusing on the correlation between child undernutrition and mothers’ socioeconomic status (SES), particularly focusing on mothers’ labor status and wealth. The main finding of the investigation was that mothers that are inserted in labor market and earning income have a positive impact on child nutritional status. Their impact is higher than the fathers. Furthermore, the evidence showed that the government must work to provide effective nutrition-sensitive interventions, as well as broader developmental programmes and policies, including socioeconomic opportunities for mother

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