Nutritional Status in Indonesia

Evidence from the 1993 Indonesian Family Life Survey

by Elizabeth Frankenberg, Wayan Suriastini, Duncan Thomas

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The authors use data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) to examine patterns of height and weight among Indonesians of all ages. The heights attained by adults have increased dramatically over the last half century. Noting that height is fixed by adulthood, the authors suggest that the more recent cohorts of adults experience more favorable nutritional conditions as children than did their older counterparts. Turning to children, the authors examine height, weight, and weight in combination with height. The authors show that child height, a longer-run indicator of nutritional status, is positively correlated with maternal education and household income, particularly among those children in the upper half of the income and maternal education distributions. Urban children are also taller than their peers. Essentially the same patterns emerge for child weight. Weight conditional on height focuses attention on shorter-run nutritional status. Weight-for-height is also positively associated with income and maternal education, although the effects are considerably weaker than those observed for the longer-run indicators.

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Originally published in: Journal of Population, v. 2, no. 2, pp. 113-143.

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