Poverty and mother’s poor health cause child nourishment, says study

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Harvard releases a study listing top five risk factors for malnutrition in children in India

Researchers at Harvard have found that factors including maternal stature, poor dietary diversity, extreme poverty, mother’s lack of education or an uneducated mother are important predictors of childhood malnutrition.

The study was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine and states that nearly 40 percent of all children in India are stunted. They are of extremely low height for their respective ages and almost 30 percent are underweight.

This study is the first to comprehensively estimate and analyse the importance of known risk factors for child malnutrition. The researchers studied nearly29,000 children aged between 6 and 59 months from the 3rd India National Family Health Survey, conducted in 2005-06.

Meanwhile, factors such as breastfeeding, intake of vitamin A, use of iodised salt, improved water and sanitation conditions, and even immunization, accounted for less than 15 percent of the cases.

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj