ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Child NutritionSubscribe to Child Nutrition

Drivers of Child Nutritional Change in India

A trend analysis is undertaken to account for the child nutritional change in India by covering 25 years of the National Family Health Surveys from 1992–93 to 2015–16. The 34% overtime decline in child undernutrition has been possible mainly because of the improvement in parental education, household economic status, coverage in immunisation, and reproductive healthcare. However, the onus has shifted towards education and economic status. The combined share of contribution to the nutritional change has increased from 48.4% to 71% between 1992–93 to 2005–06 and 2005–06 to 2015–16. While there has been a saturation of persistent government interventions for immunisation, antenatal care, and institutional delivery, education and economic status have become stronger predictors. They ensure better childcare practices, sanitation, proper diet, and access to healthcare. Therefore, the future of child nutrition lies largely in the improvement of quality education and inclusive economic development. 

Changing Wealth Inequalities in Child Nutrition in Indian States

How have wealth inequalities in child nutrition changed in the major states of India between the last two rounds of the National Family Health Survey? The temporal change in the likelihood of child stunting in the poorest quintile of households vis-à-vis the richer quintiles is examined. Alternative measures of wealth inequality in child nutrition, based on the ranking of the households’ wealth scores (namely the concentration index and the extended concentration index), are also used to see how the magnitudes have changed. The poorly performing states have not only retained the last ranks in terms of average stunting, but have also faltered in the reduction of stunting during the decade under study. In three of these states, the improvement in child stunting has disfavoured the poor by all measures. Comparing the concentration index and the extended concentration index for the two rounds, it is found that inequality in stunting has increased in all the states excluding Uttarakhand. This calls for immediate policy attention, since children from the poorest households in the backward states seem to suffer from the dual burden of the state effect and the class effect.

Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations

This paper reviews recent evidence on food intake and nutrition in India. It attempts to make sense of various puzzles, particularly the decline of average calorie intake during the last 25 years. This decline has occurred across the distribution of real per capita expenditure, in spite of increases in real income and no long-term increase in the relative price of food. One hypothesis is that calorie requirements have declined due to lower levels of physical activity or improvements in the health environment. If correct, this does not imply that there are no calorie deficits in the Indian population - nothing could be further from the truth. These deficits are reflected in some of the worst anthropometric indicators in the world, and the sluggish rate of improvement of these indicators is of major concern. Yet recent trends remain confused and there is an urgent need for better nutrition monitoring.

Back to Top