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The Contribution of Health in Utero to Capacity Formation, Education and Economic Outcomes: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania (CDS)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Harvard University Identifier:
First received: August 8, 2011
Last updated: August 25, 2016
Last verified: October 2010

August 8, 2011
August 25, 2016
April 2002
September 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
  • Children's Cognitive Development [ Time Frame: During 2011-2012 (1 year) ]
  • Children's Health [ Time Frame: During 2011-2012 (1 year) ]
    BMI, Disease Incidence, Self-reported health
  • Parental Postnatal Investment Behavior [ Time Frame: During 2011-2012 (1 year) ]
    Outcomes on parental care: care, cognitive stimulation, within-household time and money allocation
  • Educational Status [ Time Frame: During 2011-2012 (1 year) ]
    School attendance, Student performance (at school), Test Performance
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT01412580 on Archive Site
Parental Labor Force Participation [ Time Frame: During 2011-2012 (1 year) ]
Parent's labor force outcomes: labor status, wages, type of job
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
The Contribution of Health in Utero to Capacity Formation, Education and Economic Outcomes: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania
The Contribution of Health in Utero to Capacity Formation, Education and Economic Outcomes: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania
Because of the high returns of schooling in developing countries, policymakers pay a lot of attention to increasing school access. But if the mother is deficient in folic acid, brain development in utero can biologically constrain children's demand for education. Using a more scientifically credible research design than has been used in previous research, the investigators examine how reductions in micronutrient deficiency (specifically for folic acid, B6, and B12) in utero affect subsequent child schooling attainment in Tanzania. The investigators also look at the extent to which parents allocate resources to compensate for or to reinforce inequalities in children's cognitive endowments. To execute this strategy, the investigators follow up on a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) with micronutrient supplements offered to HIV-negative pregnant women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, between 2001 to 2003.

Previous research estimates microeconomic returns to education as high as 42 percent per annum in Botswana (for primary education) and 47.6 percent per annum in Zimbabwe (for secondary education). These large returns have stimulated a concerted effort in investing in education to stimulate growth. This project focuses on a mechanism that affects educational attainment through in utero nutritional environment.

While most micronutrient deficiencies can be resolved through improvements in economic outcomes by increasing caloric intake, deficiency in utero for four nutrients in particular (B6, B9, B12, and iodine) has been biologically linked to irreversible and continuous damage to a person's lifetime cognitive development.

In Tanzania, as in other sub-Saharan African countries, the dietary intake of nutrients by pregnant women is marginal or lower than recommended and therefore these women are at high risk for deficiencies. However, unlike general nutrition shortages in utero that can lead to lower educational attainment, increased rates of physical disability, lower income and lower socioeconomic status, fetal deficiency in B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid) permanently limits intellectual ability. Thus, the impact of this particular deficiency is likely to be particularly acute and persistent throughout a person's lifetime.

Phase 4
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
We Focus on the Effect of Folic Acid on Cognitive Development, Educational Outcomes and Parental Behavior.
Drug: Folic Acid
Pill, 0.6mg given in 2002-2004, duration of pregnancy
  • Placebo Comparator: Placebo
    Intervention: Drug: Folic Acid
  • Experimental: Folic Acid pill
    Pill with B9, B6, B12
    Intervention: Drug: Folic Acid
Not Provided

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
September 2013
September 2012   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • pregnant women

Exclusion Criteria:

  • non-pregnant women
Sexes Eligible for Study: Female
18 Years to 49 Years   (Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
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Harvard University
Harvard University
Not Provided
Not Provided
Harvard University
October 2010

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP