This brief shows that the level of open defecation in a community is associated with children of shorter stature in Cambodia. By looking at the change in defecation levels and average child height between 2005 and 2010 in Cambodian provinces, the study is able to show that improvements in sanitation access played a substantial role in increasing average child height over the same five years.
- A childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s height is an important statistic for policy makers to consider because it is a good indicator of overall health throughout a childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life and future achievement.
- Open defecation is associated with greater stunting at every age, even when the household itself does not open defecate.
- Sanitation policies would best prioritize collective community-wide behavior change to stop open defecation.
- Poor households with severe cash constraints are best supported through programs that focus on collective outcomes, complemented by targeted household support.