Does Conditionality Matter for Adults' Health? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, CSEF Working Papers 01/2009;
Source: RePEc


We present evidence on how the requirement to attend health and nutrition sessions affects the health behaviour of adults living in households targeted by a nutritional programme in rural Mexico. The evaluation sample of the Programa de Apoyo Alimentario (PAL) is unique in having four different treatment types, which are randomly assigned to four different groups of localities, with one group designated to receive transfers but without any requirement to attend health and nutrition courses. We find that attendance at educational sessions does not affect drinking and smoking behaviour, but significantly reduces the probability of having a large waist circumference among women. We provide evidence that attending health and nutrition related courses determines a large drop in the probability that adult women have excessive calorie intake. The results suggest that lack of information can explain, at least in part, the impressive rise in female obesity in developing countries.

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