DP12165 Infant Feeding and Cohort Health: Evidence from the London Foundling Hospital
|Author(s):||Vellore Arthi, Eric Schneider|
|Publication Date:||July 2017|
|Keyword(s):||Anthropometric growth, Breastfeeding, Early-life health, Mortality|
|JEL(s):||I14, I15, J13, N33|
|Programme Areas:||Economic History|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12165|
What was the relationship between breastfeeding and cohort health in the past? We examine this question using a rich new source of longitudinal data on nearly 1,000 children from London's Foundling Hospital (1892-1919). Specifically, we test the association between the feeding regime in infancy and subsequent health, as manifested in mortality risk and anthropometric growth at later points in childhood and adolescence. We find that breastfeeding was positively associated with both survival and weight-for-age in infancy, with scarring dominating culling on net. However, infant-weight gradients in catch-up growth ensured that by mid childhood, these initial feeding-related health differentials had disappeared.