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Undernutrition in Children Under-two years (U2) in India – An Analysis of Determinants
Authors: Tulsi Adhikari , Sheila C. Vir , R.J. Yadav, and Arvind Pandey
Source: Statistics and Applications , 13(1-2):25-36
Topic(s): Child health
Country: Asia
Published: SEP 2015
Abstract: The third National Health and Family Health Survey, 2005-06 (NFHS 3), India reports that almost every second child is undernourished. Overcoming undernutrition is critical not only to meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve poverty and hunger but to achieve the other MDG goals pertaining to maternal health, child survival, HIV/AIDS, education and gender equity. In India, the data on trend in undernutrition in the last decade in the country is not available despite the introduction of the National Health Surveys since 1992. This is primarily due to the fact that a standard criterion has also not been used for classification of undernutrition in the national surveys. Therefore, there is a need to convert the available data of the various national nutrition surveys to a specific age group and then study the trend and associations of the prevalence rate of undernutrition. With this aim the present paper is written with the objective to estimate the prevalence of undernutrition (underweight and stunting) in children below two years in India and to study the factors contributing significantly to undernutrition. The raw data of second and third round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) are used for comparing the prevalence of undernutrition in children. Logistic regression model has been used as the statistical method to analyze the data examining significant association between level of malnutrition and selected risk factors. The finding shows that low status of women (in terms of health, nutrition, education, decision making ability) is one of the primary cause which adversely influence the nutritional status of children. Significant association of under nutrition in children has been observed with low birth weight, factors which influence the health, nutrition and social status of women. These findings advocate the need to focus on life cycle approach for improving nutritional status of young children. Keywords: Undernutrition, Millennium Development Goal, Determinants of undernutrition