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Child Undernutrition in India

35 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2011  

Raghav Gaiha

University of Delhi - Department of Economics; Australian National University (ANU)

Raghbendra Jha

Australian National University (ANU) - Australia South Asia Research Centre (ASARC); Crawford School of Public Policy

Vani S. Kulkarni

Yale University - Department of Sociology

Date Written: June 9, 2010

Abstract

We have constructed a composite indicator of anthropometric failure (CIAF) that refines the Waterlow-3 tier classification, using a recent nation-wide household survey. The CIAF and its disaggregation into subcategories of undernourished 5 years old children reveal a grimmer story of child undernutrition than conventional anthropometric indicators do. Besides, simultaneous occurrence of anthropometric failures (e.g. stunting and underweight, and stunting, wasting and underweight) is pervasive. Our analysis of determinants of CIAF yields some new insights-specifically, the important role of food prices. Investigation of the links between different anthropometric failures and prevalence of infectious diseases (viz. Diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection), however, offers some justification for the disaggregated classification of undernourished children used here. Specifically, those with more than one failure were worse-off in this respect than children with no failure. There is a strong case for income growth together with food price stabilisation in curbing child undernutrition. Education has the desired effect but it is less strong than expected. Improvement in the quality of home environment makes a difference too but it is not conditional on income or wealth alone.

Keywords: stunting, wasting, underweight, poverty, infectious diseases, mortality

JEL Classification: D12, D60, I10, I31

Suggested Citation

Gaiha, Raghav and Jha, Raghbendra and Kulkarni, Vani S., Child Undernutrition in India (June 9, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1734591 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1734591

Raghav Gaiha

University of Delhi - Department of Economics ( email )

Delhi-110007
India

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Raghbendra Jha (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Australia South Asia Research Centre (ASARC) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 2 6125 2683 (Phone)
+61 2 6125 0443 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://crawford.anu.edu.au/crawford_people/content/staff/acde/rjha.php

Crawford School of Public Policy

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Vani S. Kulkarni

Yale University - Department of Sociology ( email )

493 College St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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