Social determinants of inequities in under-nutrition weight-for-age among under-5 children: a cross sectional study in Gumla district of Jharkhand, IndiaReport as inadecuate

Social determinants of inequities in under-nutrition weight-for-age among under-5 children: a cross sectional study in Gumla district of Jharkhand, India - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

International Journal for Equity in Health

, 15:104

First Online: 08 July 2016Received: 10 November 2015Accepted: 01 July 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12939-016-0392-y

Cite this article as: Chatterjee, K., Sinha, R.K., Kundu, A.K. et al. Int J Equity Health 2016 15: 104. doi:10.1186-s12939-016-0392-y


BackgroundJharkhand, a state with substantial tribal population in Eastern India has very high rate of undernutrition. The study tries to understand the social determinants of inequities in under-nutrition weight-for-age among children aged less than 5 years, in Gumla District of the State.

MethodsCross sectional study of 1070 children from 32 villages of 4 Blocks of Gumla District.

Results54.3 % 95 % CI 51.3–57.3 children were found to be underweight less than -2SD, with insignificant difference between girls and boys. Multivariate analysis showed that poverty was the single most important predictor of undernutrition, where a child from the poorest quintile was 70 % more likely to be underweight aOR 1.70, CI 1.13–2.57, compared to one from the least poor group Quintile 5. While the difference in weight-for-age status between Scheduled Tribes and -OBC and other communities- was non-significant 95 % OR 1.12, CI 0.88–1.42 in the study context; community disaggregated data revealed that there were large variations within the tribal community, and numerically smaller communities also ranked lower in wealth, and their children showed poorer nutritional status. Other factors like maternal education beyond matriculation level also had some bearing. Bivariate analysis showed that chances of a child being underweight <−2SD was 43 % more and being severely underweight <−3SD was 26 % more for mothers with less than 10 years of schooling compared to those who had attended school for more than 10 years. Educational attainment of mothers did not show any significant difference between tribal and non-tribal communities.

ConclusionOverall nutritional status of children in Gumla is very grim and calls for immediate interventions, with universal coverage. Risk was almost equal for both genders, and for tribal and non-tribal population, though within tribal communities, it was slightly higher for smaller tribal communities, calling for soft targeting. Comprehensive programme addressing poverty and higher education for girls would be important to overcome the structural barriers, and should be integral part of any intervention. The study highlights the importance of soft targeting vulnerable communities within the universal coverage of government programmes for better nutritional outcomes.

KeywordsUnderweight Social determinants Inequity Tribal Gender Poverty Maternal education  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Keya Chatterjee - Rajesh Kumar Sinha - Alok Kumar Kundu - Dhananjay Shankar - Rajkumar Gope - Nirmala Nair - Prasanta K 


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