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Infant Feeding and Cohort Health: Evidence from the London Foundling Hospital

Vellore Arthi and Eric Schneider ()

No 12165, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: What was the relationship between breastfeeding and cohort health in the past? We examine this question using a rich new source of longitudinal data on nearly 1,000 children from London's Foundling Hospital (1892-1919). Specifically, we test the association between the feeding regime in infancy and subsequent health, as manifested in mortality risk and anthropometric growth at later points in childhood and adolescence. We find that breastfeeding was positively associated with both survival and weight-for-age in infancy, with scarring dominating culling on net. However, infant-weight gradients in catch-up growth ensured that by mid childhood, these initial feeding-related health differentials had disappeared.

Keywords: Anthropometric growth; Breastfeeding; Early-life health; Mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 I15 J13 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-hea
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