Family Structure and Child Health in Argentina

Muniagurria, Maria and Beatriz Novak
Working paper no. 2014-09


We explore the influence of family structure on the nutritional status of Argentinian children aged 2-5 years with data drawn from the nationally representative National Survey of Health and Nutrition (2004-5). We use logistic regressions to model two outcomes: stunting (low height-for-age) and overweight (excessive weight-for-height). For the stunting model, we find that two-parent families have significantly better outcomes when they have relatives in residence with them and that single parenting per se does not have adverse effects. The beneficial role of relatives is reversed for overweight: Children living with one or two parents have significantly higher odds of being overweight when relatives are present in their household. Single parenting is associated with lower odds of overweight but only if relatives are not part of the residential family.