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

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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.

Simply Subbu

Futilitarianism by S Subramanian , London and New York: Routledge 2020; pp 78, ₹ 440. Present Values by S Subramanian , London and New York: Routledge 2020; pp 84, ₹ 440.

What Can We Infer from Maharashtra's Nutrition Data?

Is Maharashtra's malnutrition data suspect? Can the National Nutrition Mission invoke transformative change and improve India’s nutrition scenario?

Bihar’s Burden of Child Stunting

The prevalence of child stunting in Bihar is as high as 48%. This study of the immediate and underlying causes of stunting reveals that only 15 of Bihar’s 38 districts are on course to reach the global target of 40% reduction in child stunting by 2025, with some districts likely to take over 25 years to reach the target. The data disaggregation at the district level presented here can help district managers use publicly available data to design and strengthen nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programmes to lower the incidence of stunting.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Progress in Reducing Child Under-Nutrition

Assessing the progress made in reducing under-nutrition among children who are less than two years old in Maharashtra between 2005-06 and 2012, this article points out that child under-nutrition, especially stunting, declined signifi cantly in the state during this period. It holds that this decline can be associated with the interventions initiated through the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health and Nutrition Mission, which began in 2005, and that this indicates the critical role the state can play in reducing child under-nutrition in India.

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.

Are Children in West Bengal Shorter Than Children in Bangladesh?

Children in West Bengal and Bangladesh are presumed to share the same distribution of genetic height potential. In West Bengal they are richer, on average, and are therefore slightly taller. However, when wealth is held constant, children in Bangladesh are taller. This gap can be fully accounted for by differences in open defecation, and especially by open defecation in combination with differences in women's status and maternal nutrition.
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