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Maternal grandmothers improve the nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia

Sear, Rebecca, Mace, Ruth and McGregor, Ian A. (2000) Maternal grandmothers improve the nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 267 (1453). pp. 1641-1647. ISSN 0962-8452

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Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1190

Abstract

Hypotheses for the evolution of human female life history characteristics have often focussed on the social nature of human societies, which allows women to share the burden of child-care and provisioning amongst other members of their kin group. We test the hypothesis that child health and survival probabilities will be improved by the presence of kin using a longitudinal database from rural Gambia. We find that the only kin to significantly improve the nutritional status of children (apart from mothers) are maternal grandmothers, and that this is reflected in higher survival probabilities of children with living maternal grandmothers. There is also evidence that the reproductive status of the maternal grandmother influences child nutrition, with young children being taller in the presence of non-reproductive grandmothers than grandmothers who are still reproductively active. Paternal grandmothers and male kin, including fathers, have negligible impacts on the nutritional status and survival of children.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/proc_bio_homepage.s...
Additional Information: Published 2000 © The Royal Society. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (http://eprints.lse.ac.uk) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 00:54
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/249

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