Child Malnutrition and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analysis of Recent Trends in Kenya

Kathryn Grace, University of California, Santa Barbara
Francis Davenport, University of California, Santa Barbara
Chris Funk, University of California, Santa Barbara

Approximately 30% of children under 5 in Kenya are malnourished, and faced with a warming climate the rates of malnourishment may continue to increase. Like several countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is characterized by significant decreases in rainfall and increases in temperatures. These climate changes are linked to a decrease in arable land which may impact crop production and food availability. The purpose of this research is to investigate the relationship between rates of child stunting, a measure of malnutrition, and climate. Using georeferenced Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data collected in 1989 and 2008 for Kenya linked with detailed climate data spanning the last 30 years, we use macro- and micro-level regression analysis, adjusting for spatial correlation, to construct and compare models of child stunting. Our results will expand and improve scientific understanding of the causes of child malnutrition and the impacts of climate change.

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Presented in Session 103: Environmental Impacts on Health and Mortality