Identifying Catch-Up Trajectories in Child Growth: New Methods with Evidence from Young Lives
55 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2018 Last revised: 20 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 22, 2018
Definitions of catch-up growth in anthropometric outcomes among young children vary across studies. This paper distinguishes between catch-up in the mean of a group toward that of a healthy reference population versus catch-up within the group, associated with a narrowing of the outcome distribution. In contrast to conventional empirical approaches based on dynamic panel models, the paper shows how catch-up can be tested via a latent growth framework. Combined with a flexible estimator incorporating individual-specific intercepts and slopes, this enables between- and within-group forms of catch-up to be tested in a unified setting. The application of the proposed approach reveals significant differences in the nature, extent, and drivers of catch-up growth across the four Young Lives countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam). In addition, the paper shows how conclusions about catch-up are sensitive to the way in which anthropometric outcomes are expressed.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation