Nutrition and Infant Health in Japan


The model presented in this paper emphasizes the importance of the mother's nutritional intake as a determinant of infant health. Using cross-sectional market averages for 1980 and 1981 in Japan, we find that the nutrient intake of the mother during pregnancy is a potential determinant of neonatal and infant mortality in Japan, with increased consumption of calcium and iron leading to improved birth outcomes. Using the results obtained from the estimation of neonatal and infant mortality production functions, we note that increases in the prices of food items, in particular milk and meat, would lead to increases in neonatal and infant mortality rates. We discover that the availability of abortion in Japan, unlike in the U.S., is positively related to mortality rates, although never significantly. Finally, we see that cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor environmental quality all have strongly adverse effects on newborn survival outcomes in Japan.

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