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      The impact of food insecurity on health outcomes: empirical evidence from sub-Saharan African countries

      BMC Public Health
      BioMed Central
      Food insecurity, Life expectancy, Infant mortality, Panel data estimations, SSA countries

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          Food insecurity adversely affects human health, which means food security and nutrition are crucial to improving people’s health outcomes. Both food insecurity and health outcomes are the policy and agenda of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, there is a lack of macro-level empirical studies (Macro-level study means studies at the broadest level using variables that represent a given country or the whole population of a country or economy as a whole. For example, if the urban population (% of the total population) of XYZ country is 30%, it is used as a proxy variable to represent represent country's urbanization level. Empirical study implies studies that employ the econometrics method, which is the application of math and statistics.) concerning the relationship between food insecurity and health outcomes in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries though the region is highly affected by food insecurity and its related health problems. Therefore, this study aims to examine the impact of food insecurity on life expectancy and infant mortality in SSA countries.


          The study was conducted for the whole population of 31 sampled SSA countries selected based on data availability. The study uses secondary data collected online from the databases of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the World Bank (WB). The study uses yearly balanced data from 2001 to 2018. This study employs a multicountry panel data analysis and several estimation techniques; it employs Driscoll-Kraay standard errors (DKSE), a generalized method of momentum (GMM), fixed effects (FE), and the Granger causality test.


          A 1% increment in people’s prevalence for undernourishment reduces their life expectancy by 0.00348 percentage points (PPs). However, life expectancy rises by 0.00317 PPs with every 1% increase in average dietary energy supply. A 1% rise in the prevalence of undernourishment increases infant mortality by 0.0119 PPs. However, a 1% increment in average dietary energy supply reduces infant mortality by 0.0139 PPs.


          Food insecurity harms the health status of SSA countries, but food security impacts in the reverse direction. This implies that to meet SDG 3.2, SSA should ensure food security.

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-023-15244-3.

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                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                15 February 2023
                15 February 2023
                : 23
                : 338
                College of Business and Economics, Department of Economics, Arsi University, Asella, Ethiopia
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2023

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                : 7 March 2022
                : 8 February 2023
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2023

                Public health
                food insecurity,life expectancy,infant mortality,panel data estimations,ssa countries


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