This paper draws on the experience of the 1970-95 period to (1) elucidate some of the main causes of child malnutrition in developing countries; (2) undertake projections of how many children are likely to be malnourished in the year 2020 given current trends; and (3) identify priority actions for reducing malnutrition the most quickly in the coming decades. The analysis is based on country fixed-effects multivariate regression using data from 63 countries. The paper finds four "underlying" determinants to be key factors: health environments, women's education, women's relative status, and per capita food availability. Two "basic" determinants are also found to be important: per capita national incomes and democracy. Due to data scarcities, the role of poverty could not be assessed. Improvements in women's education was found to have contributed the most to past reductions in child malnutrition. For Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—the regions with the highest child malnutrition rates—the paper identifies two priority areas for future reductions in child malnutrition: per capita food availabilities and women's education.


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