The impact of health care spending and income inequality on stunting prevalence

Diana M Bowser, Wu Zeng, Ilhom Akobirshoev, Tyler C Morrill, Allyala K Nandakumar


Design: Stunting prevalence data were collected for 86 countries over the period 1995-2010 and combined with panel data that included health care spending and income inequality variables as well as other underlying and socioeconomic variables. Country fixed-effects regression models were utilized to examine the impact of these variables on overall stunting prevalence, controlling for time trends.

Setting: While a number of cross-country analyses have examined the drivers of stunting prevalence reduction, few have examined the impact from health care spending or income inequality. The objective of this analysis was to determine the impact of health care spending and income inequality on overall stunting prevalence.

Subjects: The analysis was conducted at the country level using aggregate data, so no individual subjects were included in the analysis.

Results: The results show that investments in social health insurance, as a percent of government health care spending, are one of the main drivers of lowered stunting prevalence. In addition, we show that reducing income inequality, by increasing the share of income held by three lowest income groups, reduces stunting levels.

Conclusions: The results of the analysis highlight the important role of targeted health care spending and reductions in income inequality on stunting prevalence.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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