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Malnutrition in China's Rural Boarding Schools: the Case of Primary Schools in Shaanxi Province
Journal Article

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Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol. 29, page(s): 481–501

December 2009

The main goal of this paper is to document the nature of boarding schools and empirically analyze the difference of nutrition intake and malnutrition status between boarding and non-boarding students in western rural China. By using two data sets about boarding schools and boarding students in Shaanxi Province, a representative province in western rural China, this paper finds that dormitory and student canteen facilities in boarding schools are under-equipped and services are poor quality and far below that needed for student development. Poor services in boarding schools and inadequate nutrition intake may be an important cause of low student height-for-age Z-scores (HAZ), as students eating at school have a much lower HAZ on average than that of non-boarding students. Furthermore, girls and students with more siblings have relatively lower HAZ, while the higher the number of parents a student has and the more educated they are exert a positive influence on child nutritional status in terms of HAZ. Finally, our analysis implies that the effective way to decrease the inequality of health, malnutrition and human capital between urban and rural in the long run is to improve the facilities and services of boarding schools in rural China.

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