Child Health and Parents’ Education

Helpdesk Query:

What is the evidence about the associations between child health outcomes and mothers' (or parents') education? Does education have an impact on child survival and where are published papers about this? How much education delivers what kind of impact?  What is the nature of the difference (for example, better preventive management of children in the home, improved income, strengthened decision-making about seeking care, adherence to treatment etc.)?

Summary:

This review shows that there is evidence of an association between child health outcomes and parents’ education.  This relationship is particularly pronounced when considering the impact of maternal education. Section 2 presents some key papers showing this relationship, including one recent paper arguing that of the 8·2 million fewer deaths in children under 5 between 1970 and 2009, 51·2% could be attributed to increased educational attainment in women of reproductive age.

Section 3 includes further published papers evidencing this association. Many indicate that maternal education is closely related to child health measured either by nutritional status, child height, weight for age or by infant and child mortality. The effect of father’s education on infant and child mortality appears to be smaller, and some papers claim the effect is about one half that of mother’s education.

The level of education a mother needs to have an impact on their child’s health is shown in Section 4. It has been shown that even one to three years of maternal schooling is associated with a large reduction in the risks of childhood death. The relationship between length of mothers’ schooling and child survival is essentially linear and has no threshold; on average a rise of one year of maternal schooling is associated with a 6-9% decline in under-five mortality.

Research showing the ways that education makes a difference is presented in Section 5. This includes the ability to acquire and understand information on the prevention and cure of childhood diseases, greater decision making power for women and improved hygiene. Additionally more highly educated people are more likely to use curative and preventive services, for example immunisation.

Section 6 includes other papers which have argued that the association is considerably less than what is expected. However, there is more published evidence showing a strong association between parents’ education and child health and mortality than papers arguing against this relationship.  Additionally, Section 7 includes a list of further recommended references.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment. Or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

file type icon DOWNLOAD [PDF - 419 KB]

Browse Helpdesk Reports by:

Search Helpdesk Reports

Helpdesk Reports

Seasonality in South Sudan

Malnutrition in Southern Sudan is caused by various factors, including changing seasons. Food insecurity is a major problem. A general lack of dietary diversity is...

Ebola – Traditional healers, witch doctors, burial attendants

This helpdesk focuses on the impact of traditional healers, witch doctors and burial attendants on ebola in West Africa. It seeks to establish if there...

Assignment Reports

What are the barriers to attendance to the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) and how can these be reduced?

Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) was launched in Nigeria in 2009 as a bi-annual campaign-style programme designed to deliver key child and maternal...

Report on phase 1 of the spatial mapping of nutrition programming project

This report provides output for Phase 1 of DFID’s spatial mapping of nutrition programming project. The overall project comprises two discrete phases and aims to...

Topic Guides

Early childhood development

Executive Summary1. Introduction2. What is integrated ECD?3. Before conception to birth 4. From birth to 2 years (infancy)5. The preschool years – 3 to 5...

Educational technology

‘At a Glance’ SummaryExecutive Summary1. Introduction2. Methodology3. Findings4. Discussion5. Conclusion and Recommendations Introduction This guide aims to contribute to what we know about the relationship...

HEART Talks

Paul Lynch on the educational inclusion of children with disabilities

Paul Lynch is an expert on the educational inclusion of children with visual impairment and complex needs. His research is mainly focused on children in...

Bev Fletcher and Amy Bellinger on Non-Traditional Financing for Education

Education Consultants, Bev Fletcher and Amy Bellinger are the co-authors of the EPS PEAKS Topic Guide on Non-Traditional Financing for Education. In this interview they give...

HEART Blog

Engaging the Community to Reach, Treat and Cure Tuberculosis

Globally 1 in 3 people are infected with tuberculosis (TB) of which 1 in 10 will go on to develop TB disease during their lifetime....

Official COUNTDOWN Launch

COUNTDOWN partners gathered together today for the official launch of the programme. After a week of productive and enjoyable inception planning workshops, it was a...

Document Library

A Wake-up Call – Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems

There is general agreement that the Ebola crisis was not quickly contained in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone because their national health systems were dangerously...

Local Engagement in Ebola Outbreaks and Beyond in Sierra Leone

Containment strategies for Ebola rupture fundamental features of social, political and religious life. Control efforts that involve local people and appreciate their perspectives, social structures...
css.php