One in every three preschool-aged children living in developing countries is malnourished. This disturbing yet preventable state of affairs causes untold suffering and, given its wide scale, is a major obstacle to the development process itself. Volumes have been written about the causes of child malnutrition and the actions that can be taken to reduce it— ranging from community-based feeding programs to accelerated economic growth (Smith and Haddad 2000). Until recently, too little attention has been paid to an obviously relevant yet little noticed issue: the role that the capabilities and well-being of children’s caretakers, usually their mothers, play in children’s nutritional well-being. This issue is the subject of this study.
Smith, Lisa C.; Ramakrishnan, Usha; Ndiaye, Aida; Haddad, Lawrence James; and Martorell, Reynaldo. 2003. The importance of women's status for child nutrition in developing countries. In Household decisions, gender, and development: a synthesis of recent research. Quisumbing, Agnes R., ed. Chapter 6. Pp. 41-52. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). http://ebrary.ifpri.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15738coll2/id/129650