Long-term health effects on the next generation of Ramadan fasting during pregnancy

Each year, many pregnant Muslim women fast during Ramadan. Using Indonesian cross-sectional data and building upon work of Almond& Mazumder (2009), I show that people who were prenatally exposed toRamadan fasting have a poorer general health than others. As predictedby medical theory, this eect is especially pronounced among older people, who also more often report symptoms indicative of coronary heart problems and type 2 diabetes. Among exposed Muslims the share of males is lower, which is most likely caused by death before birth. I show that these effects are unlikely the result of common health shocks correlated to the occurrence of Ramadan, or of fasting mainly occurring among women who would have had unhealthier children anyway.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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