Anthropometric failure and persistence of poverty in rural India
Recent studies have drawn attention to the high prevalence of stunting among children in rural India. In fact, these estimates point to more pervasive deprivation than conventional measures of poverty based on income or consumption expenditure shortfalls imply. Since stunting reflects cumulative nutritional and health deprivation, it is likely to persist despite higher incomes. With a view to shedding some new light on this issue, an analysis of the determinants of stunting is carried out, based on a recent all-India survey of rural households. While income matters, other factors acting independently of it matter too. These include household size, whether household head is male, caste affiliation, mother's age at marriage, mother's age, age composition of children, male-female wage differences, hygiene and sanitation facilities, and prices of food items. So, while higher incomes will help mitigate stunting, careful attention must also be given to enhancing women's autonomy through more remunerative employment opportunities for them, enabling households to improve hygiene and sanitation facilities, and facilitating more competitive local markets for food.
Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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