Health Disturbances of Negative Nutritional Shocks

Main Article Content

Zare Markovic
Vedad Hodzic
Hossein Shahri


The Fetal Origin Hypothesis show that the prenatal development period is a critical period for birth outcomes. Applying a panel data fixed effect model and using the universe of birth records in the US, I find that exposure to the holy month Ramadan, during which Muslim mothers fast for the whole day, during prenatal development has negative birth outcomes. Exposure to a full month of fasting is associated with 96 grams lower birth-weight. These results are robust across specifications and do not appear to be driven by mothers’ selective fertility.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Markovic, Z., Vedad Hodzic, & Hossein Shahri. (2021). Health Disturbances of Negative Nutritional Shocks. SIASAT, 6(2), 114-119.


Almond, D., and Currie, J. (2011). Killing me softly: The fetal origins hypothesis. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(3), 153–172.
Almond, D., and Mazumder, B. (2011). Health capital and the prenatal environment: the effect of Ramadan observance during pregnancy. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(4), 56–85.
Almond, D., Mazumder, B., and Van Ewijk, R. (2014). In utero Ramadan exposure and children's academic performance. The Economic Journal, 125(589), 1501–1533.
Behrman, J. R., and Rosenzweig, M. R. (2004). Returns to birthweight. In Review of Economics and Statistics (Vol. 86, Issue 2, pp. 586–601).
Haeck, C., and Lefebvre, P. (2016). A simple recipe: The effect of a prenatal nutrition program on child health at birth. Labour Economics, 41, 77–89.
Hoynes, H., Miller, D., and Simon, D. (2015). Income, the earned income tax credit, and infant health. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 7(1), 172–211.
Hoynes, H., Page, M., and Stevens, A. H. (2011). Can targeted transfers improve birth outcomes?. Evidence from the introduction of the WIC program. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7–8), 813–827.
Joosoph, J., Abu, J., Yu, S. L., and others. (2004). A survey of fasting during pregnancy. Singapore Med J, 45(12), 583–586.
Jürges, H. (2015). Ramadan fasting, sex-ratio at birth, and birth weight: No effects on Muslim infants born in Germany. Economics Letters, 137, 13–16.
Majid, M. F. (2015). The persistent effects of in utero nutrition shocks over the life cycle: Evidence from Ramadan fasting. Journal of Development Economics, 117, 48–57.
Mubeen, S. M., Mansoor, S., Hussain, A., and Qadir, S. (2012). Perceptions and practices of fasting in Ramadan during pregnancy in Pakistan. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 17(7), 467.
Myrskylä, M. (2010). The relative effects of shocks in early-and later-life conditions on mortality. Population and Development Review, 36(4), 803–829.
NoghaniBehambari, H., Noghani, F., and Tavassoli, N. (2020a). Early Life Income Shocks and Old-Age Cause-Specific Mortality. Economic Analysis, 53(2), 1–19.
NoghaniBehambari, H., Noghani, F., and Tavassoli, N. (2020b). Child Support Enforcement and Child Mortality. Applied Economics Letters, 1–12.
Robinson, T., and Raisler, J. (2005). D. “Each one is a doctor for herself”: Ramadan fasting among pregnant Muslim women in the United States. Ethnicity and Disease, 15(1 SUPPL. 1).
Savitri, A. I., Yadegari, N., Bakker, J., Van Ewijk, R. J. G., Grobbee, D. E., Painter, R. C., Uiterwaal, C. S. P. M., and Roseboom, T. J. (2014). Ramadan fasting and newborn’s birth weight in pregnant Muslim women in the Netherlands. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(9), 1503–1509.
Sorensen, H. T., Sabroe, S., Rothman, K. J., Gillman, M., Steffensen, F. H., Fischer, P., and Serensen, T. I. A. (1999). Birth Weight and Length as Predictors for Adult Height. American Journal of Epidemiology, 149(8), 726–729.
Tavassoli, N., Noghanibehambari, H., Noghani, F., and Toranji, M. (2020). Upswing in Industrial Activity and Infant Mortality during Late 19th Century US. Journal of Environments, 6(1), 1–13.
Wu, G., Bazer, F. W., Cudd, T. A., Meininger, C. J., and Spencer, T. E. (2004). Maternal nutrition and fetal development. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(9), 2169–2172.