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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 8, No. 4, 2008, pp. 405-416
Bioline Code: nd08037
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2008, pp. 405-416

 en Impact of low nutrient intake on infant mortality rate in sub-saharan Africa
Ijaiya, GT & Yahaya, AA


Eating good quality food is necessary for good health given the importance of food to the people as one of their most basic needs, which they cannot live without, because it gives energy for everything they do (walking, working, talking, playing, reading and even thinking and breathing). Food also provides the energy for the nerves, muscles, heats and glands to work; and the nourishing substances the bodies require to build and repair tissues and regulate the body organs and systems.

Given these assertions, a healthy body through adequate nutrient intake will not only affect the capacity of an individual to learn, but will improve the well-being and the productivity of that individual and the economic growth of the nation in general. Adequate nutrient intake will not only reduce the tendency for individuals to contact communicable diseases like tuberculosis, but if not properly managed can increase diseases of dietary excess like obesity. On the contrary, when there are inadequate intakes of nutrients, the resultant effect will include malnutrition, which in turn could lead to impaired mental development, poor scholastic and intellectual performance and a wide range of illnesses, disability and possibly death, most especially among infants.

Using a cross-country data, drawn from sub-Saharan Africa and a multiple regression analysis, this paper examines the extent to which low nutrient intake has impacted on infant mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa. The results obtained first indicate that the model used for the study is of good fit, since 61 percent variation in the dependent variable (infant mortality rate) is explained by the independent variables (low nutrient intake, proxied by daily per capita calories intake and per capita income). Second, the result also indicates that low nutrient intake has a significant influence on infant mortality rate and third nutrient intake (drawn from the values of the co-efficient and t-value) has the expected sign, which is inversely related to infant mortality rate, thus fulfilling our a-priori expectation which said that the lower the nutrient intake, the more the rate of infant mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa.

Given these result, measures such as, increase in food availability, macro-economic stability (especially, a reduction in inflation rate and exchange rate stability), improved nutrition through micro-nutrients fortification and supplementation, ensuring good governance and combating ethnic/religious/ civil conflicts and HIV/AIDS are suggested as possible solutions to improving nutrient intake in sub-Saharan Africa.

Food, nutrient, infant, mortality, Africa

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