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Econ Hum Biol. 2018 Sep;30:69-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2018.05.001. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

The effect of prenatal exposure to Ramadan on children's height.

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School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Tacoma, WA 98402, USA. Electronic address:
The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. Electronic address:


We examine the effect of prenatal exposure to Ramadan on children's height by sex, age, region, and the degree of religiosity. Since Ramadan rotates on solar calendars, we pool demographic and health survey data from numerous developing countries to increase the number of birth years and fairly control for potential seasonal effects. Our results suggest that Ramadan-induced nutritional stress during early- and mid-gestation may negatively affect the height of 3 and 4 years old Muslim male children. The effect tends to be stronger in West Africa and Central Asia. It also tends to be stronger in more religious countries. We do not detect consistent negative effects on height in female children.


Children; Height; Height-for-age Z-Score; Prenatal exposure to Ramadan; Religiosity


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