Children's work, earnings, and nutrition in urban mexican shantytowns

Alexandra Slade, Sarah Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

For many children living in conditions of urban poverty, earning money can provide additional resources to them and their families, and this raises interesting questions about the potential biological consequences (costs and benefits) of children's work in 'modern' settings. This study uses time allocation, ethnographic, dietary, and anthropometric data collected with 96 urban Mexican shantytown children (aged 8-12 years) and their older and younger siblings (aged 1-18 years) to test hypotheses related to the effects of children's cash earning and cash contributions to their households for their own and their sibs' nutritional status. Regression models show that children's contributions to household income and the time they allocate to working outside the home makes no difference to their own or their younger siblings' nutritional status assessed anthropometrically. Dietary quality, based on food recalls, is worse in working than non-working children, even taking household income into account. Children's allocation of time to work and their cash contributions to the household do however significantly improve the weight of their older siblings, especially sisters. This suggests children's work in urban ecologies might have different constraints and opportunities for their own and siblings' growth and nutrition than typically observed in subsistence settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-68
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

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