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Stunting later in childhood and outcomes as a young adult: Evidence from India


  • Himaz, Rozana


This paper looks at patterns of growth faltering and catch up of around 1000 children as they moved from 8 to 19 years of age, from middle childhood through adolescence to young adulthood, using Height for Age Difference (HAD) and the more conventional Height for age z-scores (HAZ). It also looks at what individual and household characteristics may have moved these children into or out of situations of nutritional deprivation and how their stunting profile in later childhood correlates with psychosocial outcomes at age 19 and how it may have intergenerational consequences. The paper uses 4 rounds of longitudinal data collected in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2013 from Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, India when the children were aged 8, 12, 15 and 19. The paper finds that there are significant gender based biases in growth faltering later in childhood disfavouring girls and that becoming newly stunted as an adolescent is strongly correlated with a child reporting to have poorer relationships with peers compared to the group that were never stunted. We also find that a girl experiencing stunting in middle childhood or adolescence (even if they were not stunted at age 8 or eventually moved out of being stunted by age 19) correlates significantly with offspring being shorter and thinner than the offspring of girls never stunted. This is one of few, if any, studies that look at growth patterns in middle childhood and adolescence and outcomes as a young adult and the results are important for their implications for further research and policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Himaz, Rozana, 2018. "Stunting later in childhood and outcomes as a young adult: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 344-357.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:344-357
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.12.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
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    1. Elisabetta Aurino & Whitney Schott & Jere R. Behrman & Mary Penny, 2019. "Nutritional Status from 1 to 15 Years and Adolescent Learning for Boys and Girls in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 38(6), pages 899-931, December.
    2. Toshiaki Aizawa, 2020. "Trajectory of inequality of opportunity in child height growth: Evidence from the Young Lives study," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 42(7), pages 165-202.
    3. Duc, Le Thuc, 2019. "Household wealth and gender gap widening in height: Evidence from adolescents in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 208-215.
    4. Ricardo D. Salvatore, 2020. "Stunting Rates in a Food-Rich Country: The Argentine Pampas from the 1850s to the 1950s," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(21), pages 1-22, October.
    5. Aurino, Elisabetta & Morrow, Virginia, 2018. "“Food prices were high, and the dal became watery”. Mixed-method evidence on household food insecurity and children’s diets in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 211-224.

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