Globally, communities are increasingly impacted by the stressors of climate change. In response, people may adapt to maintain their livelihoods and overall health and nutrition. However, the relationship between climate adaptation and human nutrition is poorly understood and results of adaptation are often unclear. We investigated the relationship between adaptation and child nutrition, in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) during an extreme drought. Households varied in both adaptation behavior and household resources and we found that, overall, households that adapted had better child nutrition than those that didn't adapt. When controlling for the influence of household capital, we found that more vulnerable households, those with greater dependence on natural resources and lower income, had a stronger positive relationship between adaptation and nutrition than less vulnerable households. We also found that some adaptations had stronger positive relationships with nutrition than others. In our system, the adaptation that most strongly correlated with improved nutrition, selling chickens, most likely benefits from local social networksand consistent demand, and performed better than other adaptations. Our results emphasize the need to measure adaptation outcomes and identify and support the types of adaptations are most likely to improve nutrition in the future.
Keywords: Eswatini; adaptation; anthropometrics; capital; climate change; drought; nutrition.