Skip to main content

Early Childhood Length-for-Age Is Associated with the Work Status of Filipino Young Adults


Carba, Delia B.; Tan, Vivencia L.; & Adair, Linda S. (2009). Early Childhood Length-for-Age Is Associated with the Work Status of Filipino Young Adults. Economics and Human Biology, 7(1), 7-17. PMCID: PMC2692275


Most studies on childhood health and human capital in developing countries examine how early childhood linear growth relates to later human productivity as reflected in schooling success. Work status is another important human capital outcome related to early child health. This study examines the relationship of linear growth restriction at 2 years of age to work status in young adults who have, for the most part completed their schooling and further explores whether this relationship differs by gender. The analysis sample of 1795 was drawn from participants in the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, which followed individuals from birth to age 20-22 years. Work status in 2005 was represented by three categories: not working, working in an informal job, and working in a formal job. Formal work in the Philippines, as in most countries, is associated with regular hours, higher wages and benefits. Analyses were stratified by gender and current school enrolment, and adjusted for socioeconomic status and attained years of schooling. Among males no longer in school, higher length-for-age Z-score (LAZ) at age 2 was associated with a 40% increase in likelihood of formal work compared to not working. In females, each 1 unit increase in LAZ was associated with 0.2 higher likelihood of formal vs. informal work. No significant associations were observed in the small sample of young adults still in school. To improve job prospects of young adults, it is important to provide proper nutrition in early childhood and adequate educational opportunities during schooling years.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economics and Human Biology


Carba, Delia B.
Tan, Vivencia L.
Adair, Linda S.