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Most of Africa's Nutritionally Deprived Women and Children Are Not Found in Poor Households
Authors: Caitlin Brown, Martin Ravallion, and Dominique van de Walle
Source: Review of Economics and Statistics, 101(4): 631-644; DOI: 10.1162/rest_a_00800
Topic(s): Child health
Women's health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: OCT 2019
Abstract: Policymakers often assume that targeting observably poor households suffices in reaching nutritionally deprived individuals. We question that assumption. Our comprehensive assessment for sub-Saharan Africa reveals that undernourished women and children are spread widely across the household wealth and consumption distributions. Roughly three-quarters of underweight women and undernourished children are not found in the poorest 20% of households, and around half are not found in the poorest 40%. Countries with higher undernutrition tend to have higher shares of undernourished individuals in nonpoor households. Intrahousehold inequality accounts in part for our results, but other factors appear to be important, including common health risks.