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

Increasing facility-based deliveries and providing referral transport for women in childbirth in Asia

Approaches to increasing facility based births: Eliminating user fees and voucher schemes have been found to improve facility-based delivery rates. A systems approach was found...

Nutrition interventions in developing and fragile contexts with a focus on community interventions and Yemen

This was an extensive query to tackle in 3 days. The result is an annotated bibliography covering a selection of key papers identified through a...

Assignment Reports

Support National Malaria Programme (SUNMAP) Annual Review (2013)

The UK provides financial support to the SUNMAP programme to support the management, coordination and delivery of malaria control services in six Nigerian States. It...

Ghana Education 2006-2013, Lessons Learned

This short Lessons Learned paper was requested as part of the Project completion Review process of DFID’s Support to the Education Strategic Plan 2006-2013. The...

Topic Guides

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...

Inclusive learning

Introduction1. Key concepts in inclusive learning2. Evidence on inclusive learning3. Inclusive societies4. Toolkits relevant to inclusive learning Inclusive learning is the result of effective teaching...

HEART Talks

Julia McGeown on inclusive education

Julia McGeown is the Inclusive Education Technical Advisor at Handicap International. In this interview, she talks about the recently published HEART Inclusive Education Topic Guide....

Richard Rose on inclusive learning in India

Richard Rose is Professor of Inclusive Education at the University of Northampton. In this interview he talks about inclusive education in India and the Bangalore...

HEART Blog

Progress is fast, but not fast enough: Taking stock of progress on Women’s and Child health

In the first blog from his series from the UN General Assembly in New York, Steve Lewis reports on progress on Women and Children’s health in the last year. It...

Human resources for eye health – bringing vision into focus

Today is World Sight Day, which is in principle an advocacy event, where eye health practitioners, organisations, researchers, partners and supporters raise public awareness of...

Document Library

Investing in our Young People

This paper develops econometric models of skill formation that distill the essence of recent empirical findings from the literature on child development. The goal is...

Developmental Potential in the First 5 Years for Children in Developing Countries

Many children younger than 5 years in developing countries are exposed to multiple risks, including poverty, malnutrition, poor health, and unstimulating home environments, which detrimentally...
css.php