Malnutrition

Child growth sensitivity to rainfall variability

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Science  10 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6325, pp. 592-593
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6325.592-d

Child growth in Nepal correlates with the weather and crop productivity.

PHOTO: © KATE HOLT/EYEVINE

Agricultural production and crop diversity are highly sensitive to climate and local weather variables. To assess the sensitivity of child growth and weight gain to precipitation, Shiveley combined data for Uganda and Nepal collected over 30 years from several sources and controlled for multiple covariates. Positive anthropometric outcomes correlate with rainfall before birth, but, in some settings, high and unexpected rainfall can be harmful by damaging harvests or facilitating disease. The impact of increasingly variable weather on faltering agricultural productivity can be buffered by even modest improvements to roads and bridges, thus providing easier access to markets and health facilities.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1524482114 (2017).

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