Climatic variability affects many underlying determinants of child malnutrition, including food availability, access, and utilization. Evidence of the effects of changing temperatures and precipitation on children's nutritional status nonetheless remains limited. Research addressing this knowledge gap is merited given the short- and long-run consequences of malnutrition. We address this issue by estimating the effects of temperature and precipitation anomalies on the weight and wasting status of children ages 0–59 months across 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Linear regression models show that high temperatures and low precipitation are associated with reductions in child weight, and that high temperatures also lead to increased risk of wasting. We find little evidence of substantively meaningful differences in these effects across sub-populations of interest. Our results underscore the vulnerability of young children to climatic variability and its second-order economic and epidemiological effects. The study also highlights the corresponding need to design and assess interventions to effectively mitigate these impacts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law