Geography and culture matter for malnutrition in Bolivia

Rolando Morales, Ana María Aguilar Liendo, Alvaro Calzadilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The prevalence of health problems and malnutrition in Bolivia is exceptionally high, even in comparison to other underdeveloped countries. This study analyzes the relationship between a two measures of child health - Height-for-age and weight-for-age z-scores-and a set of physical and cultural determinants of child nutrition, including mother's characteristics, household assets and access to public services. The ultimate aim is to identify the most important determinants of child health and to measure the relative impact of each factor on the height and weight z-scores. A sequential strategy was adopted in order to estimate a two-equation linear model with correlated error terms. A major finding points to geographical and cultural variables as main causes of nutritional status and highlights the role of mother's anthropometrical characteristics. This study uses data on over 3000 children gathered from a Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-389
Number of pages17
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Issue number3 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank IADB Research Network for financial support and Jere Behrman and Emmanuel Skoufias for useful comments that helped improve earlier versions of this paper.


  • Child health
  • Child malnutrition
  • Height
  • SUR estimation
  • Weight


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