Publications Summary

Document Type
Analytical Studies
Publication Topic(s)
Anemia, Child Health and Development, Geographic Information, Infant and Child Mortality, Malaria, Nutrition
Chad, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras
Recommended Citation
Assaf, Shireen, Andres Gomez, Christina Juan, and Thomas D. Fish. 2018. The Association of Deforestation and other Environmental Variables with Child Health and Mortality. DHS Analytical Studies No. 66. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
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Publication Date
August 2018
Publication ID

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This report uses data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean to study the associations between environmental variables and child health outcomes, including child mortality. The environmental variables include forest cover, deforestation, vegetation index, proximity to protected area, and proximity to water. These variables were extracted from external sources and linked to DHS data at the cluster level. Unadjusted and adjusted regression models were fit between each environmental variable and each child health outcome—malaria, dietary diversity, stunting, underweight, anemia, diarrhea, and mortality. The results were mixed and showed few significant findings; however, stunting and underweight had more significant findings than other outcomes. Some countries (Chad, Guatemala, and Nepal) exhibited more significant findings than others (for instance, Haiti, Cambodia, and the Dominican Republic). A further analysis was performed on three countries—Malawi, Uganda, and Nepal—by pooling three successive DHS surveys for each country. This analysis also showed mixed results. The main limitation of the analysis was its use of cross-sectional data, which do not allow for inferring causality between the environmental variables and the outcomes. The mixed findings call for further studies, preferably using longitudinal data over long periods of time.


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