Reducing children's malnutrition by increasing mothers' health insurance coverage: A focus on stunting and underweight across 32 sub-Saharan African countries

Raymond Elikplim KOFINTI, Isaac KOOMSON*, Jones Arkoh PAINTSIL, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the potential role of a mother's health insurance coverage in enhancing her children's health and well-being, research examining its impact on children's nutritional outcomes remains sparse. We examine the link between mothers' health insurance subscription and child malnutrition using data extracted from the Demographic and Health Surveys program across 32 sub-Saharan African countries on 109,019 children under the age of 5. We measure child stunting and underweight using height-for-age z-scores and weight-for-age z-scores, respectively. After addressing endogeneity, we found that mothers' health insurance subscription decreases child stunting and underweight. These results are robust to different approaches to addressing endogeneity and different measures of child stunting and underweight. The effect of mothers' health insurance subscription on stunting and underweight is more pronounced among girls than boys. These findings further demonstrate that mothers' health insurance subscription influences child stunting and underweight through maternal healthcare utilization and the provision of diversified diets to children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106049
Number of pages12
JournalEconomic Modelling
Early online date27 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to express our gratitude to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for granting us access to the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data for this research. We also appreciate the editors and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Health insurance
  • Children health outcomes
  • Stunting
  • Underweight
  • Dietary diversity
  • Maternal healthcare utilization (MHU)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
  • Sub-saharan africa (SSA)

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