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Severe wasting among Indian infants <6 months: Findings from the National Family Health Survey 4
Authors: Tarun Shankar Choudhary, Akanksha Srivastava, Ranadip Chowdhury, Sunita Taneja, Rajiv Bahl, Jose Martines, Maharaj Kishan Bhan, and Nita Bhandari
Source: Maternal and Child Nutrition, e12866; DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12866
Topic(s): Birth weight
Child health
Children under five
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2019
Abstract: Burden and risk factors for wasting in the first 6 months of life among Indian children are not well documented. We used data from India's National Family Health Survey 4 to estimate the prevalence of severe wasting (weight for length < -3 SD) among 18,898 infants under 6 months of age. We also examined the association of severe wasting with household, maternal, and child-related factors using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Prevalence of severe wasting among infants less than 6 months of age was 14.8%, ranging from 3.5 to 21% across states. Low birth weight (<2,500 g; adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.40, 95% CI [1.19, 1.65]), nonutilization of supplementary nutrition by mother during lactation (AOR 1.23, 95% CI [1.05, 1.43]), and anthropometric assessment during summer (AOR 1.37, 95% CI [1.13, 1.65]) and monsoon months (AOR 1.53, 95% CI [1.20, 1.95]) were associated with higher odds of severe wasting. Infants aged 2 to 3 months (AOR 0.78, 95% CI [0.66, 0.93]) and 4 to 5 months (AOR 0.65, 95% CI [0.55, 0.73]) had lower odds of severe wasting as compared with the 0- to 1-month category. This analysis reveals a high burden of severe wasting in infants less than 6 months in India. Preventive interventions must be targeted at reducing low birth weight due to fatal growth restriction and prematurity. Appropriate care practices at facilities and postdischarge with extra attention to those born small and sick can prevent further deterioration in nutritional status. KEYWORDS: India; NFHS; infant; malnutrition; wasting