Rural Livelihood Variation and its Effects on Child Growth in Timor-Leste

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Abstract

Economic development introduces opportunities for subsistence households to diversify income sources. Timor-Leste is undergoing this transition; however, little is known about the patterns of household strategies and the effects of rural development on child wellbeing. We derive strategies from 190 households in two rural Timor-Leste communities and examine the links between resource strategies and child growth using linear mixed modeling. Children's z-height, z-weight, and z-BMI are well below international standards. We find agriculture remains predominantly subsistence-based, with some reliance on cash flow from government pensions and salaries. Households with stable income sources are better able to accumulate wealth, and children living in salaried households have better z-height. However, child growth is best predicted by individual-level factors rather than household ecology. Substantial variation in household strategy and little association of strategy with growth indicates there is no best' strategy in this transitioning environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-799
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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