Study on nutritional health status and early development influencing factors of left-behind children in rural areas of China

Stream: Chinese social policy: health policy
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 10.45 am – 12.25 pm


The living standards and nutritional health status of left-behind children in rural China have attracted much attention, and it is an urgent task for academic and policy researchers to explore the intervention mechanism to improve their nutritional health. This study uses Chinese Family Panel Studies data and China Health and Nutrition Survey data, combined with the child growth standards provided by the World Health Organization, to construct a series of indicators reflecting the nutritional health status of left-behind children, including stunting, underweight, and average calorie/carbohydrate/fat/protein intake for three days. The aim of this paper is to examine the current status of nutritional health of children left behind in rural areas of China, the changing pattern, the regional and demographic heterogeneity, and the key factors affecting their nutritional health level. With empirical calculation and comparison, as well as the regression analysis of influencing factors, this analysis draws the following three conclusions. First, in the past few decades, the nutritional health status of children in China has been greatly improved, stunting and underweight rates have decreased significantly, and the nutritional dietary structure has been greatly adjusted. Second, stunting and underweight rates of left-behind children were significantly higher than those of non-left-behind children during the same period, and their intake of the four main nutrients was lower after 2004, in which the migration situation of mothers had a greater impact. Third, the factors affecting the nutritional health status of children left behind may come from children themselves, parents and the family environment.


Yichao Wu (Presenter), Southeast University, China
Wu Yichao, PhD in University of Bristol, associate professor in Southeast University, China.
Research interests include child welfare and health economics.