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Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy

van Ewijk, Reyn (2009) Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy. CEP Discussion Paper, No. 926. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Each year, many pregnant women fast from dawn to sunset during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Medical theory suggests that this may have negative long-term health effects on their offspring. Building upon the work of Almond and Mazumder (2008), and using Indonesian crosssectional data, I show that people who were exposed to Ramadan fasting during their mother’s pregnancy have a poorer general health and are sick more often than people who were not exposed. This effect is especially pronounced among older people, who, when exposed, also report health problems more often that are indicative of coronary heart problems and type 2 diabetes. The exposed are a bit smaller in body size and weigh less. Among Muslims born during, and in the months after, Ramadan, the share of males is lower, which is most likely to be caused by death before birth. I show that these effects are unlikely to be an artifact of common health shocks, correlated to the occurrence of Ramadan, or o f fasting mainly occurring among women who, irrespective of fasting or not, would have had unhealthier children anyway.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2009 The author
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: No. 926
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2010 11:36
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28597/

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