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The impact of sanitation & hygiene practices on nutrition

Safe Water Strategy

Are there any very good research studies on the impact of sanitation and/or hygiene practices on nutrition?

1 Answer

Safe Water Strategy

For health impacts see:

Cuesta, J., 2007. Child malnutrition and the provision of water and sanitation in the Philippines. Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 12 (2), pp. 125–157

Spears, D., 2013. How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain. (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6351)

Key messages from this paper, according to Eddy Perez of the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP):

  1. Open defecation explains 54% of international variation in child height. In contrast, GDP only explains 29 percent.

    A 20 percentage point reduction in open defecation is associated with a 0.1 standard deviation increase in child height, which is about 0.4 of a centimeter for a healthy four-year-old

WaterAid and SHARE, 2013. Under-nutrition and WASH (Briefing note)

It gives the latest overview of research on the links between under-nutrition and WASH. The most substantial is an upcoming Cochrane review on "Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children". see the online protocol

For economic impacts see: SuSanA factsheet - Productive sanitation and the link to food security, April 2012