Explaining Change in Child Overweight in Less Developed Countries: A Decomposition Analysis

Kelly Balistreri, Bowling Green State University

Considerable attention has focused on the rise in child overweight and obesity in developing countries. We pool eighty-seven nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) conducted between 1990 and 2008 from 30 developing countries and draw upon non-linear decomposition techniques to understand how much of the change in child weight between the 1990s and 2000s is due to shifts in household factors (e.g., maternal employment and education) and how much is due to shifts in country level factors of globalization and economic development while accounting for the shifting composition of regional populations. The largest contributor to the increase in child weight in less developed countries appears to be the shift in regional composition of children. Due to declines in fertility in ‘thinner’ regions of the world, children were more likely to live in heavier regions of Africa and the Middle East.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Children