Increasing Disparity in Childhood Malnutrition across the Ethnic Groups in India: Trends between 1992-2006

Divya Kumari, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper examines disparity in childhood malnutrition (underweight) across the ethnic groups in India and its region using three rounds of the National Family Health Survey conducted during 1992-2006. Descriptive statistics and pooled logistic regression analysis were applied to measure the disparity in childhood malnutrition across the ethnic groups. The prevalence of underweight differs considerably between the Scheduled castes/Scheduled tribes (SC/ST) and other caste; underweight among the SC/ST in India being substantially higher than other caste. The prevalence has declined among the other caste while it has stagnated among SC/ST over the study period. Pooled logistic regression results suggest that the disparity in underweight has increased across the ethnic groups in India over the last two decades. The findings call for dedicated policies, in line with those already existing to improve the socio-economic status of the SC/ST in India, to tackle the rampant childhood malnutrition among the SC/ST in India.

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Presented in Session 227: Health Disparities in India