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Inequalities in the reduction of child stunting over time in Latin America: evidence from the DHS 2000–2010
Authors: Verónica Amarante, Nincen Figueroa, and Heidi Ullman
Source: Oxford Development Studies, Online first; DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2018.1461821
Topic(s): Child health
Country: Latin American/Caribbean
  Multiple L.A./Caribbean Countries
Published: APR 2018
Abstract: This article analyses the evolution of child stunting in seven Latin American countries during the 2000s, based on repeated cross-sections of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The incidence of stunting differs from country to country, ranging from 27% in the Plurinational State of Bolivia to 6% in Brazil. The largest reduction in stunting took place in Peru, where it declined from 28% in 2007 to 18% in 2012. The decrease in Haiti is also noteworthy, from 29% in 2006 to 21% in 2012. Although all countries were able to reduce the incidence of child stunting, inequalities in child stunting evolved differently. Whereas in Brazil and Colombia inequality in child stunting decreased, in Peru and Bolivia it rose. In the rest of the countries, improvements in child stunting took place jointly with no statistically significant change in its inequality. Results from the decomposition analysis indicate that the unequal distribution in stunting is accounted mainly by the wealth index, and to a lesser extent, by maternal characteristics such as weight, education, and children ever born. Factors such as breastfeeding and diarrhoea exert smaller effects. In all countries, inequality in wealth was the main contributor to changes in stunting inequality, with equalizing or un-equalizing effects depending on the country. Keywords: Child stunting, inequality, Latin America