Infant Morbidity and School Performance in Late Childhood in Cebu, Philippines
Tita Lorna L. Perez, University of San Carlos
Marilyn V. Cinco, University of San Carlos
Diarrhea and respiratory infections continue to be the leading causes of childhood mortality and morbidity in the Philippines. These illnesses may also have long-term effects on surviving children's later health and development among those who survive, but few studies have examined the effects of early child morbidity on school performance. Using the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study in the Philippines, we examine the associations and independent effects of diarrhea and respiratory diseases in the first 2 years of life on school absenteeism and English and Mathematics achievement tests scores at 10-12 years old. We also explore the combined effects of diarrhea and respiratory illnesses on the same education-related indicators. Analysis reveals that diarrhea and respiratory infections during infancy are associated with more school absenteeism and lower achievement test scores at ages 10-12. The long-term consequences of infant morbidity emphasize the importance of early interventions to improve child health.