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Comparison of Growth in Children of 6 to 59 Months of Age According to Birth Order: Insights from the National Family Health Survey-4
Authors: Aravind Dharmaraj, Ananta Ghimire, Saravanan Chinnaiyan, Amrendra Kumar Tiwari, and Rajendra Kumar Barik
Source: Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, Volume 15, no. 8; DOI:
Topic(s): Child health
Country: Asia
Published: AUG 2021
Abstract: Introduction: Undernutrition continues to be a major public health problem throughout the world. Higher birth order of the child contributes to higher chance of being undernutrition. But, the relationship between birth order and undernutrition has not been fully studied and understood, especially in India where the fertility rate was high. Aim: To understand the prevalence and determinants of undernutrition using National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) India. Materials and Methods: A national cross-sectional survey was conducted during January 2015 to December 2016. This study used information from a total weighted sample of 128859 children from India NFHS-4. Univariate and multivariate binary logistic regression were used to investigate the association of undernutrition with birth order, other child, maternal and socio-economic factors. Three models were constructed for the study, model 1 as univariate, model 2 adjusting with birth order and socio-economic predictors and model 3 adjusting with all the predictors included in the study. Results: Of the 128859 children, median Inter Quartile Range (IQR) age was 26 (16-41) months with female/male ratio was 1:1.2. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 37.93% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 37.67-38.20), 34.02% (95% CI 33.76-34.28) and 20.70% (95% CI 20.48-20.92), respectively. Model-1, 2 and 3 showed that the child's higher birth order was found to have higher odds of being stunted and underweight compared with first born children. Children with lower wealth quintiles, male, vaginal delivery had higher odds of being stunted, wasted and underweight in the model-3 adjusted analysis. Conclusion: This study indicates that higher birth order was a significant predictor of a child being stunted and underweight, as it is significant in all three models. However, further longitudinal studies are required to establish a cause-effect relationship between birth order and undernutrition and future interventions to prevent undernutrition should consider birth order as an important factor.