Nutrition and Infant Health in Japan

Tadashi Yamada, Tetsuji Yamada, Frank Chaloupka

NBER Working Paper No. 2444 (Also Reprint No. r1365)
Issued in November 1987
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

The model presented in this paper emphasizes the importance of the mother's nutritional intake as a determinant of infant health. Using cross-sectional market averages for 1980 and 1981 in Japan, we find that the nutrient intake of the mother during pregnancy is a potential determinant of neonatal and infant mortality in Japan, with increased consumption of calcium and iron leading to improved birth outcomes. Using the results obtained from the estimation of neonatal and infant mortality production functions, we note that increases in the prices of food items, in particular milk and meat, would lead to increases in neonatal and infant mortality rates. We discover that the availability of abortion in Japan, unlike in the U.S., is positively related to mortality rates, although never significantly. Finally, we see that cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor environmental quality all have strongly adverse effects on newborn survival outcomes in Japan.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2444

Published: The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. XXIV, No. 4, pp. 725-736, (Fall 1989).

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