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Estimates of Child Malnutrition in India

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This article analyses the comparability of the estimates of child malnutrition emanating from the National Family Health Surveys and the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau. The issue has been highlighted by Deaton and Drèze (EPW, 14 February 2009). They find it puzzling that according to the NFHS, the prevalence of child malnutrition as measured by weight for age was almost unaltered between 1998-99 and 2005-06, while NNMB estimates suggest a substantial decline. This article undertakes a more detailed assessment of these two sets of estimates and finds that once the comparison is confined to comparable units, the difference is largely eliminated.

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