in: The European Journal of Development Research (Early online access) doi: 10.1057/ejdr.2016.7
This article engages in the debate on the effects of early childhood health and children’s cognition at preschool and school ages in low- and middle-income countries. On the basis of three rounds of the ‘Young Lives’ panel, it endorses a multidimensional approach to health. A ‘suite of indicators’ of malnutrition and morbidity, and a composite Multidimensional Health Poverty Index (MHPI) are used to measure health. Expanding the informational basis for measuring health helped to capture variations in children’s medium-term cognitive outcomes more effectively. Beyond stunting, our empirical analysis shows that acute malnutrition is an important predictor of children’s lifecourse learning in India, while it has minor or no effects in the other countries. The composite MHPI is also significantly associated with later cognition; however, it is substantially less informative than the suite of indicators. Finally, the article explores some potential channels through which the relationship between early health and mid-term cognitive abilities operates.