An Economic Analysis of the Diet, Growth, and Health of Young Children in the United States

25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2001 Last revised: 23 Aug 2010

See all articles by Dov Chernichovsky

Dov Chernichovsky

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and NBER

Douglas Coate

Newark College of Arts & Sciences - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 1979

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which family income and education are obstacles to the provision of adequate diets for young children in the United States. An examination of the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals the following: 1. Average nutrient intakes of young children are well above recommended dietary standards, with the exception of iron. 2. Average nutrient intakes for children in households of lower economic status are very similar to intakes of children in households of higher economic status. Rates of children's growth are also similar in these households. 3. Family income and education of the household head have statistically significant but very small positive effects on the nutrient intake levels of young children. 4. There are substantial effects of protein intakes on children's height and head growth, even though protein is consumed in excess of dietary standards. This finding and the apparent correlation between children's growth and their intellectual development brings to question the adequacy of present protein standards. Could American mothers, who provide very high protein diets for their children in households at all levels of socioeconomic status know more about what constitutes an adequate diet for their children than the experts do?

Suggested Citation

Chernichovsky, Dov and Coate, Douglas, An Economic Analysis of the Diet, Growth, and Health of Young Children in the United States (December 1979). NBER Working Paper No. w0416. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=262043

Dov Chernichovsky (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and NBER ( email )

Faculty of Health Sciences
Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel
970 0 7 6477421 (Phone)
970 0 7 6477634 (Fax)

Douglas Coate

Newark College of Arts & Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

360 ML King Jr. Blvd.
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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