Malnutrition and Poverty in Guatemala

54 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Alessandra Marini

Alessandra Marini

World Bank

Michele Gragnolati

World Bank - Latin America and Caribbean Region

Date Written: January 2003


The objective of this paper is to document the extent and distribution of child and adult malnutrition in Guatemala; to analyze the relationship between selected child, maternal, household and community characteristics and children's nutritional status; and to outline the implications of the most important findings for nutritional policy.

The prevalence of chronic malnutrition among Guatemalan children in 2000 was the highest in Latin America and among the highest in the world. The data show very strong socioeconomic and geographic inequality. The econometric analysis reveals a strong impact of income and of intergenerational effects. Education of adults in the household and the availability of infrastructure are other important determinants of children's growth attainment. Finally, even controlling for income and other household and community characteristics, ethnicity remains an important determinant of child nutritional status. The study also reveals an increasing prevalence of excess weights and obesity among children and adults. Overnutrition tends to be higher among individuals living in urban areas and among non-poor and non-indigenous households.

This paper - a product of the Human Development Sector Unit, Latin America and the Caribbean Region - is part of a larger effort in the region to study poverty and human development processes.

Suggested Citation

Marini, Alessandra and Gragnolati, Michele, Malnutrition and Poverty in Guatemala (January 2003). Available at SSRN:

Alessandra Marini

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Michele Gragnolati (Contact Author)

World Bank - Latin America and Caribbean Region ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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