Determinants of stunting and poor linear growth in children under 2 years of age in India: an in-depth analysis of Maharashtra’s comprehensive nutrition survey

Víctor M. Aguayo, RajilakshmiNair, Nina Badgaiyan and Vandana Krishna

We use a representative sample of 2561 children 0–23months old to identify the factorsmost significantly associated with child stunting in the state of Maharashtra, India. We find that 22.7% of children were stunted, with one-third (7.4%) of the stunted children severely stunted. Multivariate regression analyses indicate that children born with low birthweight had a 2.5-fold higher odds of being stunted [odds ratio (OR) 2.49; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.96–3.27]; children 6–23months old who were not fed a minimum number of times/day had a 63% higher odds of being stunted (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.24–2.14); and lower consumption of eggs was associated with a two-fold increased odds of stunting in children 6–23months old (OR 2.07; 95% CI 1.19–3.61); children whose mother’s height was<145 cm, had two-fold higher odds of being stunted (OR 2.04; 95%CI 1.46–2.81); lastly, children of households without access to improved sanitation had 88%higher odds of being severely stunted (OR 1.88; 95%CI 1.17–3.02). Attained linear growth (height-for-age z-score) was significantly lower in children from households without access to improved sanitation, children of mothers without access to electronic media, without decision making power regarding food or whose height was<145 cm, children born with a low birthweight and children 6–23months old who were not fed dairy products, fruits and vegetables. In Maharashtra children’s birthweight and feeding practices, women’s nutrition and status and household sanitation and poverty are the most significant predictors of stunting and poor linear growth in children under 2 years.

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