|Decomposing acute malnutrition by educational inequality of mother’s among under five children in Jammu and Kashmir
|Insha Tariq, Javaid Iqbal Khan & Manzoor Ahmad Malik
|Scientific Reports, 13
Children under five
|Health outcomes in the state of Jammu and Kashmir have shown improvement in recent decades. However, nutritional achievements, particularly among children under the age of five, have not seen similar progress. Various factors influence the nutritional status of this age group, with the socio-cultural and biological attributes of mothers being considered significant determinants. While some studies have examined these attributes, there is a scarcity of research exploring the causal link between socio-culturally determined factors, such as maternal education, and child nutritional achievements, especially in Indian states located in North India. This paper aims to address this gap by analysing the prevalence of acute malnutrition (stunting) among children under five in Jammu and Kashmir in relation to educational inequality among mothers. The latest round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) is used to assess the levels of stunting (low height for age) among children, considering the literacy status of mothers and other control variables. Bivariate and multivariable methods are employed to study the association and identify risk factors. Additionally, the Oaxaca decomposition method is used to analyse the educational gap in factors associated with child stunting. The results indicate a higher prevalence of stunting among children of uneducated mothers (29%) compared to those of educated mothers (25%). The findings demonstrate a lower risk of stunting among children whose mothers are literate (OR 0.89). The Oaxaca decomposition analysis reveals a statistically significant difference in stunting between children based on their mother's education. These results highlight the wide disparities in acute malnutrition among children due to variations in maternal education. It is therefore crucial for policymakers to prioritize efforts to reduce educational disparities in order to alleviate the nutritional burden faced by children.