Determinants of nutritional status in children under 5 years in India
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Children aged below 5 years in India are amongst the most affected with poor nutritional status in the developing world. This dissertation examines different nutritional outcomes of children in India and their associated risk factors. This is a secondary data analysis using data from the National Health and Family Survey (NFHS) collected during 1992-2006. The three areas examined are 1) pregnancy outcome (birth weight and birth size of children) and related determinants, 2) determinants of undernutrition (stunting, underweight, wasting and anemia), and 3) determinants of childhood overweight. Significant regional, urban/rural and socio-economic disparity existed with respect to the outcomes studied. Maternal education and employment were important predictors of the overall nutritional status of children in the study. Other predictors were maternal autonomy, presence of grandparents in the household and dietary practices that significantly increased or decreased the risks of poor birth outcome and undernutrition in the children. For instance, low maternal autonomy increased the risks of poor pregnancy outcome with respect to birth weight and birth size of the child. Presence of grandparents in the household and intake of diet of good quality were important factors that decreased the risks of undernutrition in children. On the other hand, urban children and those from affluent households had the maximum risk of being overweight. Overall we observed higher prevalence of low birth weight and undernutrition in children from rural areas and a higher prevalence of overweight among urban children. This dissertation work identified both individual and household level risk factors of under 5 nutritional outcomes, suggesting the need for intervention programs targeting individuals and household as a means of overcoming these important public health problems.