Biological, Programmatic and Sociopolitical Dimensions of Child Undernutrition in Three States in India
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The recently developed India State Hunger Index 2008 highlights the continuing sorry state of hunger in India, and shows that children underweight makes the largest contribution to hunger index scores for most of India. In this article, we apply an assessment framework developed by the Mainstreaming Nutrition Initiative to understand three dimensions of child undernutrition in India: (1) the biological/epidemiological aspects of the nutrition situation, (2) the programmatic interventions and environment and (3) the sociopolitical environment for nutrition. We conduct this assessment for three states in India, each of which offers a distinct typology: (a) Bihar, an extremely poor northern state with high levels of undernutrition; (b) Karnataka, a southern state with high economic growth, but high child undernutrition rates; (c) Tamil Nadu, a southern state portrayed as an example of successful health and nutrition programming, but with rates of undernutrition that are still very high.
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