Stunting and Wasting in a Growing Economy: Biological Living Standards in Portugal, 1924-1994

34 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2021

See all articles by Alexandra Cermeño

Alexandra Cermeño

Lund University

Nuno Pedro G. Palma

University of Manchester

Renato Pistola

University of Lisbon

Date Written: October 1, 2021

Abstract

Portugal's real income per head grew by a factor of eight during the second half of the twentieth century, a period of fast convergence towards Western European standards of living. We use a new sample of about 2,000 children to document trends in the prevalence of stunting and wasting in the city of Lisbon between 1945 and 1994. We find that stunting and wasting fell quickly in the 1950s and 1960s. This happened for males and females, and for infants (0 to 36 months of age) as well as children (2 to 10 years of age). We additionally use a sample of 17,000 young adult males covering the entire country which shows a similar decrease in the incidence of wasting and stunting, with the expected time lag. We discuss these trends in relation to changes in income and public policy which affected the ontogenetic environment of children.

Keywords: Anthropometrics, child health, economic development, poverty

JEL Classification: I15, N34, O15

Suggested Citation

Cermeño, Alexandra and Palma, Nuno Pedro G. and Pistola, Renato, Stunting and Wasting in a Growing Economy: Biological Living Standards in Portugal, 1924-1994 (October 1, 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP16617, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3960198

Alexandra Cermeño (Contact Author)

Lund University ( email )

Box 117
Lund, SC Skane S221 00
Sweden

Nuno Pedro G. Palma

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Renato Pistola

University of Lisbon ( email )

R. Branca Edmée Marques
Dept. Plant Biology
Lisboa, 1600-276
Portugal

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