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

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Poverty or Ethnicity?

Adult Under-Nutrition in India

The nutritional performance of adult women in India, at present, parallels a situation referred to famously as The Asian Enigma. Ramalingaswami, Jonsson and Rohde (1996) deployed this term to refer to the prevalence of higher levels of child undernutrition in south Asia, despite its much better performance in economic and social spheres, than Sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis established that the Asian enigma was essentially a “low birth weight enigma”, as the exceptionally high level of low birth weight was found to be the primary reason for the much higher incidence of under-nutrition, especially stunting, in south Asia than Sub-Saharan Africa (Osmani and Bhargava 1998). The low birth weight of babies relates essentially to the poor nutritional status of women (mothers, to be specific), which in itself has become a source for yet another enigmatic situation.

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