Understanding the Drivers of Nutritional Status of Children in Rural India

Rekha Sharma, J.V. Meenakshi and Sanghamitra Das

in Growth, Development, and Diversity

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077992
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081608 | DOI:
Understanding the Drivers of Nutritional Status of Children in Rural India

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This chapter analyses the correlates of child nutritional status in rural India in an attempt to understand which drivers may be used as entry points to policy intervention. Using children’s standardized weights as a measure of their nutritional status, the analysis uses a health production function framework, in which child nutritional status is postulated as a function of food intakes—as measured by the frequency at which various foods were consumed in the previous week—and various individual-, parental-, household-, and village-level socio-economic factors. The analysis is based on unit record data on 16,755 pre-school rural children in the 1998–9 National Family Health Survey (NFHS). A unique feature of the estimation method is an explicit accounting of sequential fixed effects at the parent, household, and village levels. The chapter suggests that household incomes positively impact the nutritional status of children. However, the authors argue that there is no single solution to the problem of child undernutrition—what is required is a set of complementary strategies.

Keywords: child undernutrition; nutrition; rural India; household income; National Family Health Survey; child mortality; healthcare

Chapter.  6288 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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