Changes in Diarrheal Disease and Treatment Among Brazilian Children from 1986 to 1996

Published in: Population Research and Policy Review, v. 30, no. 1, Feb. 2011, p. 81-100

Posted on RAND.org on February 01, 2011

by Narayan Sastry, Sarah Burgard

Read More

Access further information on this document at Population Research and Policy Review

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

We examined changes in diarrhea prevalence and treatment in Brazil between 1986 and 1996. Over this 10-year period there was a small decline in diarrhea prevalence but treatment with oral rehydration therapy (ORT) increased greatly. Deaths due to dehydration were thus averted, although the costly burden of morbidity remained high. The decline in diarrhea prevalence was largely due to changes in the effects of several key covariates, such as breastfeeding, with only a modest role played by socioeconomic change, infrastructure improvements, and other behavioral factors. ORT treatment of diarrhea was essentially unrelated to child and family characteristics, suggesting that the large increase was due to the success of public health efforts to promote its use widely. Our results suggest that the most effective policies for reducing diarrhea prevalence are likely to be further increases in education and the promotion of breastfeeding. Persistent disparities in diarrhea prevalence mean that policies to prevent the disease should be targeted at disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.