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Food consumption patterns and malnourished Indian children: Is there a link?
Authors: Pushkar Maitra, Anu Rammohan, Ranjan Ray, and Marie-Claire Robitaille
Source: Food Policy, 38: 70-81; DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.10.004
Topic(s): Child feeding
Child health
Country: Asia
Published: FEB 2013
Abstract: Despite its economic success, India has made little progress towards meeting its Millennium Development Goal targets of reducing undernourishment, particularly among children. In this paper, we use nationally representative datasets, the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS II and NFHS III) and the National Sample Survey (55th and the 61st rounds) to analyse the link, if any, between child nutritional outcomes and calorie intakes. Our analysis finds evidence of an improvement in the height-for-age z-scores, but a worsening in weight-for-height z-scores for children aged 0–3 over the period 1998/1999–2005/2006. There is also evidence of a sharp decline in per adult equivalent calorie intake from the principal food items over roughly this same period. Moreover, this decline was observed across all the expenditure quintiles. Our analysis is therefore able to identify a co-movement of declining nutritional intake for both adults and children and a lack of progress in improving nutritional outcomes of children. Highlights ? We examine links between child nutrition and calorie intake in India. ? Between 1998–1999 and 2005–2006, weight-for-height has worsened for children aged 0–3. ? Consumption of the major food items declined for all expenditure quintiles. ? There is evidence of co-movement in nutritional intake and child nutrition. Keywords India; Weight-for-height; Height-for-age; Calorie intake; Expenditure patterns