alexa Maternal education and child nutritional status: evidence from Uganda
Reproductive Medicine

Reproductive Medicine

Clinics in Mother and Child Health

Author(s): Edward Bbaale

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Purpose – The debate concerning the relationship between maternal education and child nutritional status is not a foregone conclusion. This paper aims to contribute to the existing debate by examining this relationship for the case of Uganda. Design/methodology/approach – Theoretically, the study was based on household models of optimization, just like in the standard consumer theory, to gain insights into household demand for the health good. Empirically, the paper employed maximum-likelihood probit models and computed marginal effects in order to obtain logically interpretable results. Findings – The paper finds that once the socio-economic factors are controlled for, the significance of maternal education, especially primary and secondary levels, in influencing child nutrition status decays but post-secondary education persists. Therefore, if mothers are exposed to the same socio-economic conditions, it is education of the mother beyond secondary level that generates a difference in the child nutrition outcomes. Practical implications – These findings suggest that efforts to improve the child health outcomes in the future need to target measures that aim to educate women beyond secondary level. The government program to extend free education at the secondary level is a good start and should be strengthened. Originality/value – Literature presents no consensus on the effect of maternal education and child nutritional status. It is often argued that maternal education is simply a proxy for the socio-economic conditions and geographical area of residence such its significance decays once these are controlled for. Yet others argue that maternal education is a single most important factor influencing child nutritional outcomes. The debate is still very hot and this study sought to contribute to this debate for the case of Uganda.

This article was published in African Journal of Economic and Management Studies and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health

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