Nutrition in India: Targeting the First 1,000 Days of a Child's Life

12 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017

Date Written: October 21, 2016


Notwithstanding the sizeable economic and social gains made by India over the last two decades, the pernicious, often invisible, challenge of maternal and child undernutrition remains a national public health concern. This undermines the assumption that economic growth is in itself a sufficient condition for improvement in public health. India is home to over 40 million stunted and 17 million wasted children (under-five years) (Raykar et al., 2015). Despite a marked trend of improvement in a variety of anthropometric measures of nutrition (for example, rates of stunting, wasting in children under-five) over the last 10 years, child undernutrition rates in India persist as among the highest in the world. This inequality in access is accentuated by the stark state-level disparity in nutritional status. Malnutrition is also responsible for lowering individuals’ immunity to infections and diseases; for instance, low body weight is responsible for 50 per cent of tuberculosis (TB) in India, and also leads to higher death rate (Swaminathan, 2016). Future growth will require significant investments into human resources of which health investments are critical.

Suggested Citation

Ravi, Shamika and Singh, Ramandeep, Nutrition in India: Targeting the First 1,000 Days of a Child's Life (October 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Shamika Ravi (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Ramandeep Singh

Brookings India

New Delhi, 110021

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