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Socioeconomic status, anthropometric status and developmental outcomes of East-African Children

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review



The aim of the current review is to critically evaluate existing evidence on the relationship between socio-economic status, anthropometry and child development. We observed that socio-economic variables (e.g. maternal and paternal educational level, occupation and income, and wealth index, which is a composite of various wealth indicators) were positively associated with anthropometric status. Additionally, it was observed that children who had poor anthropometric status (i.e. stunted or underweight) performed more poorly on measures of child development compared to peers with proper growth. Relationships between SES and developmental outcomes are consistently found; with some studies reporting a direct and others an indirect relationship. We propose a mediation model in which SES has an influence on developmental outcomes through various more proximal variables, such as maternal caring capacity, anthropometric status, and ill-health. Potential pathways of the influence of SES on anthropometric status include inadequate food intake, ill health and sub-optimal parenting behaviour. Anthropometric status also influences developmental outcomes through multiple pathways, such as potential brain damage and lowered activity levels. It is concluded that parental SES influences child’s physical growth which in turn affects their developmental outcomes. Implementing intervention measures to improve the anthropometric status of children living in poverty can be expected to improve developmental outcomes.