Does Educational Exclusion Explain Health Differentials Among Children?

An empirical analysis of children in Ethiopia using Young Lives data

Authored by: Ricardo Sabates , Mariachiara Di Cesare , Barry Reilly

Routledge Handbook of International Education and Development

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415747547
eBook ISBN: 9781315797007
Adobe ISBN: 9781317752240


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Millions of children in less developed countries suffer from ill health and malnutrition. A recent report by UNICEF (2013) suggests that stunting, or low height for age, affects 165 million children under five, which represents 25% of children in this age category globally. Ill health and malnutrition trap children in a vicious developmental cycle, as the damage to a child’s physical and cognitive development, especially during the first two years of life, is largely irreversible and carries major consequences for future educational success (Dewey and Begum 2011; Grantham-McGregor et al. 2007; Pridmore 2007). For instance, recent research with well-nourished six year olds from medium to high socioeconomic backgrounds reported a significant positive relationship between iron and folate intake and both total and nonverbal IQ (Arija et al. 2006). Deficiencies in iron and zinc have been associated with the impairment of neuropsychologic function and retardation of growth and development (Sandstead 2000). Other research suggests that sufficient B vitamin intake early in life is also important for the development of the central nervous system and thus later cognition (Bryan et al. 2004).

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