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Seminar Series: Alok Bhargava, School of Public Policy

Diet Quality, Child Health and Food Policies in Developing Countries
When Nov 16, 2015
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
Attendees Diana Cassar-Uhl
Nicole DeLoatch
Sonalde Desai
Jared Fisher
Theresa Kim
Zhihong Lin
Ui Jeong Moon
Angie O'Brien
Lea Pessin
Michael Rendall
Basheer Saeed
Elizabeth Seaman
Yeats Ye
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About the Talk

Although the importance of diet quality for improving child health is widely recognized, the roles of environmental factors and the absorption of nutrients for children’s physical growth and morbidity have not been adequately integrated into a  policy framework. Moreover, nutrient intakes gradually affect child health, so it is helpful to use alternative tools to evaluate short-term interventions versus long-term food policies. This article emphasizes the role of diet quality reflected in the intake of nutrients such as protein, calcium, and iron for children’s physical growth. Vitamins A and C are important for reducing morbidity. Children’s growth and morbidity affect their cognitive development, which is critical for the future supply of skilled labor and economic growth. Evidence on these issues from countries such as Bangladesh, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Tanzania is summarized. The supply of nutritious foods is appraised from the viewpoint of improving diet quality. Finally, the roles of educational campaigns and indirect taxes on unhealthy processed foods consumed by the affluent in developing countries are discussed.

About the Speaker

Alok Bhargava

Alok Bhargava is an Indian-American econometrician. He studied mathematics at Delhi University and economics and econometrics at the London School of Economics.

Before joining the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, Bhargava was Professor of Economics at the University of Houston.

He received his Ph.D. in econometrics from the London School of Economics under the supervision of John Denis Sargan in 1982. His thesis (The Theory of the Durbin–Watson Statistic with special reference to the Specification of Models in Levels as against in Differences) led to many tests for unit roots that were used in co-integration analyses. Bhargava also worked on econometric methods for longitudinal ("panel") data.

Since 1991, Bhargava has been publishing on important aspects of nutrition, food policy, population health, child development, demography, epidemiology, AIDS, and finance in developing and developed countries. His academic publications demonstrate the usefulness of rigorous econometric and statistical methods in addressing issues of under-nutrition and poor child health in developing countries, as well as obesity in developed countries.

Bhargava is an associate editor of the multi-disciplinary journal Economics and Human Biology. He has held teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University and has published over 50 articles in academic journals, several of which have been very highly cited. A collection of his works has been reprinted in a separate volume. His ability to move between various disciplines has been described as "polymath powers".

Visit Professor Bhargava's webpage

Please note that, at the present time, Morrill Hall is not accessible for handicapped individuals.


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