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The impact of "sanitary environment" on health and height in Italy at the end of the 19th century

Odoardo Bussini, Università di Perugia
Donatella Lanari, Università di Perugia

The paper examines the effect of the socio-economic and “sanitary” environment on health condition and height of male population in three Italian areas in Northern and Central Italy, using data from the survey on the sanitary conditions of the Italian municipalities and the military recruitment records. We investigate the aforementioned relationship for a cohort born at the end of the 19th century. Removing the hypothesis of fixed effects for grouping variables, a multilevel statistical model is specified to evaluate the influence of both individual and macro-aggregate variables. In a series of multivariate regression analyses, a negative relationship between education attainment and being declared unfit for military service is found, while the significant influence of sanitary infrastructures addresses to accurately assess the contextual effects as the main determinants of a general weakness and the associated smaller stature of the conscripts recorded in the investigated regions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Poster Session 5: contexts