Medicine, Science & Technology

What is the effect of number of siblings on child health

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In this paper we used cross sectional data where 30,890 observations were utilized to find the effect of siblings on a child’s health. We controlled for variables such as siblings, wealth, mothers education level, rural/urban residence, weight of the
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    What is the effect of number of siblings on child health? ECON 330: Econometrics Adeel Tariq 13/12/17 Group 17 Laila Rasul 2019-02-0122 Kiran Khalid 2019-02-0066 Sajid Faiz Malik 2019-02-0006 Ali Ahmed Shah 2019-02-0035    Group 17 |1 Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 2 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 2 Literature Review............................................................................................................................ 3 Description of data .......................................................................................................................... 4 Econometric Model ......................................................................................................................... 5 Conclusion and Policy Analysis ..................................................................................................... 7 Limitations of the model ................................................................................................................. 8 Appendices ...................................................................................................................................... 9 References ..................................................................................................................................... 15  Group 17 |2 Abstract In this paper we used cross sectional data where 30,890 observations were utilized to find the effect of siblings on a child ’ s health. We controlled for variables such as siblings, wealth, mothers education level, rural/urban residence, weight of the child and gender. Through our research we found that as the number of siblings increased there was a statistically significant decrease in child health thus showing a negative relationship between the two variables. Introduction With poor healthcare, high levels of poverty and stark differences in facilities between rural and urban areas, families must undertake action themselves to maximize the standard of their children’s health. Family planning is touted as one of the most effective methods of improving the standards of living within households, mainly due to its possible implementation on the micro-level by each individual family. How many children should a household have? Will having more children be beneficial or detrimental to the health of the next child? To successfully encourage family planning one must ascertain the relationship that each sibling has on the other. Without determining the ideal number of children given a certain income, the government cannot engage in meaningful policy making. China undertook such a mass family planning program with the one child policy implemented in 1979, which heavily discouraged families from having more than one child (hefty fines were imposed on any consequent births). The objective of the policy was to reduce the exploding population. However, an interesting implication was that the single children became more prone to obesity and diabetes. According to US public policy researcher Shu Weng NG , an only-child in a Chinese family would consume significantly more fat in his/her diet than in households with two or more children. Behavioral pediatrician Julie Lumeng , from the University of Michigan, also asserts that having siblings ostensibly leads to healthier children, citing reasons such as active  play between the “playmate” siblings. On the other hand having too many siblings can expose a child to disease more often and increase his probability of catching a contagious ailment. Similarly, each successive child will divide parental attention and may result in inadequate care taken. These competing sides require consensus which necessitates research in this area; without which effective and complete law and policy cannot be formed by the government.  Group 17 |3 It is important to note that we are examining the effect siblings will have on a child given adequate resources and income. Poor households are often associated with large families and poor health, however the attribution of fault in these instances often lie in the finiteness of resources. Therefore, the question posed is “How is the health of the child affected by siblings given sufficient income and will having an additional child prove harmful o r beneficial to the children’s health?” Literature Review   B. Galobardes, P. McCarron, M. Jeffreys and G. Davey Smith in their paper “  Association between Number of Siblings and Cause- Specific Mortality in the Glasgow Alumni Cohort Study” analyzed the impact that siblings have on specific illnesses such as respiratory diseases, strokes, stomach and prostate cancer. The study accounted for income by forming a five-point scale (I for most affluent and V for least affluent). It also included variables such as age, number of siblings, height, body mass index (BMI), smoking and alcohol consumption. What is interesting is that certain diseases such as strokes and stomach cancer were not associated with the number of siblings, however respiratory diseases and prostate cancer formed a negative relationship. Thus, this study showed the possibilities that exist but failed to form a definitive conclusion that is required in this area. H. Zhong in “ The Effect of Sibling Size on Children’s Health and Education: Is there a Quantity-Quality Trade-off? ” elucidated the “q uantity- quality debate”, i.e. does  the increase in the quantity of children compromise the quality of their education and health? The paper relied on the natural experiment that resulted from the exogenous variable of the one child policy in China. This saw a great amount of literature, sample size and variation in family sizes. The study found a statistically significant and negative relationship between number of children in the family and height for age in the sample. This provided impetus for a conclusive remark. However the major shortcoming of this paper is that although a strong correlation exists between the health of a child and his/her height, genetics still plays an undeniable role in the height of an individual. C. Ho   estimated “sibling spillovers” in “Estimating sibling spillovers in health: Evidence on  symptoms”. Ho found that individuals received health shocks from exogenous factors that often led to its spread specifically to siblings. Contagious disease was faster on siblings due to physical proximity, so much so that the frequency of having the same symptoms was 55%. The study concluded that the sibling spillover was significant and impactful in its health effects. The problem  Group 17 |4 associated with this study is the narrow sample under which it operates, using a limited sample of US adolescents undermining its general applicability. Description of data  The data which we are using for our analysis was collected in Punjab from June to September 2014, under the name, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. The data collection was planned and implemented by the Bureau of Statistics, Punjab. The data which we were given access to had been divided into four datasets, of which one contained data for children and three contained data for women. For the purpose of our analysis we will merge two datasets using the merge command. Each observation in our final dataset represented a unique child. Data for the child’s corresponding Mother/caretaker was merged into the file. There were some issues faced when merging the data as not all observations were matched perfectly. We kept only the observations which matched perfectly, using the keep command. This dataset contained 30,890 observations of children aged between zero (less than one) and four years old. There was still however, the issue of biological/non-biological mothers, as we could see that the variable csurv (surviving children of the mother) was taking the value 0, which is counter intuitive as they have been matched to children in the children dataset. A possible explanation is that these children have been adopted by mothers who don’t have children of their own.  To amend this we replaced csurv to take the value of 1 when csurv=0. In addition to this we make the assumption that all non-biological children in the sample belong to mothers who otherwise do not have surviving children. To study our relationship, we used certain variables from the merged dataset. These are attached in Table 1 on the next page. Of these variables, bmi, melevel, wscore, HL4, HH6, and AN3 were given from the child dataset, and csurv was given from the mother’s dataset. Other variables such as sib, and dummies such as female and rural were generated from the aforementioned variables. Prior to generating any new variables, the existing variables were all checked for missing values. The variable bmi reported missing values as well as bizarre values such as 99.99, which occurred due to missing weight and height values. To fix this we cleaned the bmi variable for when the values of height and weight were missing, or when they take the values 999.9 and 99.9
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