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Journal Article


Tian X, Ding C, Shen C, Wang H. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017; 14(11): e14111308.


Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Jiangning District, Nanjing 211166, China.


(Copyright © 2017, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






The soaring number of left-behind children (LBC) in China has raised concerns about whether or not they can receive adequate care. This study investigated the impact of parents' migration on LBC's growth. LBC were divided into father-left children (F-LBC) and at least mother left children (M-LBC), both of which were compared with non-left-behind children (non-LBC) in terms of growth indicators. Data of 466 children with two continuous measurements were obtained from the four recent waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). Anthropometric measures and 24-h recall of three consecutive days of dietary intake were extracted. The disparity of growth and nutrition status were compared by the difference-in-difference (DID) method.

RESULTS showed that LBC had significantly worse height and weight than non-LBC at baseline, respectively (p = 0.006, p = 0.003). This disadvantage was improved after parental migration, especially for M-LBC. However, the impact on growth status caused by parents' migration was statistically insignificant once the pre-treatment disparity was removed. Further analysis on nutrition status indicated that fathers' migration had a significant negative impact on F-LBC's calorie intake (p = 0.014), which was mainly caused by the decline of carbohydrates (p = 0.008). This study indicated that the negative impact detected in previous studies might be caused by the retarded growth of LBC before parents' migration.

Language: en


calorie; carbohydrate; height; left-behind children; weight


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