Violence and Nutritional Status of Children in Iraq

Yubraj Acharya , Pennsylvania State University
Saman Naz, Pennsylvania State University
Nancy Luke, Pennsylvania State University
Dhiraj Sharma, World Bank Group

There is limited empirical evidence on how prolonged conflicts affect children’s nutritional status. We examined the relationship between stunting and cumulative exposure to violence among 23,410 12-59 months old children in Iraq. We found that one additional incident of violence per 1000 population reduced a child’s height-for-age z-score by 0.0043 units and increased the probability of being stunted by 0.15 percentage point. However, these seemingly small effects masked important heterogeneous effects. The height-for-age z-score for a child in the highest quintile of exposure to violence was 0.2 units lower than that of a child in the lowest quintile. As such, a child in the highest quintile was 7.6 percentage points more likely to be stunted than a child in the lowest quintile. The effects varied by gender. With no or minimal exposure to violence, there would have been 4.3 percentage points fewer stunted children in Iraq than there are today.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 201. Exposure to Collective Violence/Conflict and Child/Youth Well-being: International Perspectives