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Combating Child Chronic Malnutrition and Anemia in Peru: Simulations based on the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals



Chronic child malnutrition and anemia are among the main risk factors for child development across the developing world. In Peru, 14.7% of children under 5 years of age are chronically malnourished and 36.4% of children between 6 and 36 months of age show some degree of anemia. In this paper, we estimate the improvements that can be expected in child malnutrition and anemia in Peru, if Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved for a set of health determinants. The study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it is the first study to offer improvement scenarios for SDG-related health outcomes based on shifts produced in other SDG-related variables. This can be informative to policy if some of these SDG-related determinants have a direct connection to policy action. Second, we use the insights of a simple economic model describing families’ behavior to choose the empirical strategy less prone to biases and interpret the improvement scenarios. Our results indicate that important reductions of 8.9 and 15.7 percentage points can be achieved in child chronic malnutrition and anemia, respectively, if all their SDG-related determinants reach their targets. Importantly, at least half of these reductions can be produced by closing gaps in access to observable inputs that have a direct influence on health and that can be directly influenced by policy.

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