Can prolonged breastfeeding duration impair child growth? Evidence from rural Ethiopia

Daniel Muluwork Atsbeha, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr, Kyrre Rickertsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The severity of stunting due to inadequacy decreases as breastfeeding is prolonged. Many studies in developing countries have found a negative association between breastfeeding duration and child growth. This finding creates a public policy dilemma given the widely accepted benefits of breastfeeding. Plausible causes for the negative association include reverse causality and omitted variables. Using the 2005 Demographic and Health Survey from rural Ethiopia, we find a downward bias in the estimated growth effect of breastfeeding duration before we control for the nutritional adequacy of complementary foods. Once the omitted variable problem is addressed, we find no evidence of adverse growth effects from prolonged breastfeeding. Instead, we find that the effect of inadequate supplementation on child growth is stronger for children that are breast-fed for shorter duration. These results support policies aimed at promoting breastfeeding beyond the first six months of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalFood Policy
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1

Fingerprint

breastfeeding
child growth
Ethiopia
breast feeding
Breast Feeding
duration
Growth
evidence
causality
Growth Disorders
complementary foods
demographic survey
health survey
public policy
nutritional adequacy
developing country
Public Policy
food
Causality
growth retardation

Keywords

  • Breastfeeding duration
  • Child growth
  • Complementary food
  • Health production
  • Omitted variable bias
  • Stunting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Can prolonged breastfeeding duration impair child growth? Evidence from rural Ethiopia. / Atsbeha, Daniel Muluwork; Nayga, Jr, Rodolfo M.; Rickertsen, Kyrre.

In: Food Policy, Vol. 53, 01.05.2015, p. 46-53.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Atsbeha, Daniel Muluwork ; Nayga, Jr, Rodolfo M. ; Rickertsen, Kyrre. / Can prolonged breastfeeding duration impair child growth? Evidence from rural Ethiopia. In: Food Policy. 2015 ; Vol. 53. pp. 46-53.
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