Effect of Birth Interval on Child Undernutrition: Evidence from a Recent Large Scale Survey in India

Harihar Sahoo, International Institute For Population Sciences
Holendro Singh , BBC World Service Trust
Strong P Marbaniang, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Child undernutrition is caused by several factors, but birth spacing is often overlooked even though it is strongly associated with stunting and underweight. Information on the effects of birth spacing on child malnutrition in India is inadequate. Although there is some circumstantial evidence suggesting a negative association, large-scale studies exploring this relation are lacking. Therefore, the present study attempts to determine at what extent the length of preceding birth interval influences the child undernutrition and which contextual factors thereby play a crucial role using National Family Health Survey 4 data. Applying both bi-variate and multivariate analysis, the result revealed that short birth intervals are associated with an increased risk of child stunting and underweight even after controlling the biological, social and behavioral predictors. Our results suggest that interventions that aim to increase birth intervals, including family planning and reproductive health services, may be important in improving nutritional status in children.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality