Back to browse results
Influence of agriculture on child nutrition through child feeding practices in India: A district-level analysis
Authors: Deepshikha Dey, Arup Jana, Manas Ranjan Pradhan
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 16, issue 12; DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0261237
Topic(s): Child feeding
Country: Asia
Published: DEC 2021
Abstract: Malnutrition continues to be a primary concern for researchers and policymakers in India. There is limited scientific research on the effect of agriculture on child nutrition in the country using a large representative sample. To the best of our knowledge, no study has examined the spatial clustering of child malnutrition and its linkage with agricultural production at the district-level in the country. The present study aims to examine agricultural production's role in improving the nutritional status of Indian children through child feeding practices. The nutritional indicators of children from the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) and the agricultural production data for all the 640 districts of India obtained from the District-Wise Crop Production Statistics (2015-16), published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India were used for the analysis. The statistical analysis was undertaken in STATA (version 14.1). ArcMap (version 10.3), and GeoDa (version 1.8) were used for the spatial analysis. The study found a higher prevalence of malnutrition among children who had not received Minimum Meal Frequency (MMF), Minimum Dietary Diversity (MDD), and Minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD). Further, child feeding practices- MMF, MDD, and MAD- were positively associated with high yield rates of spices and cereals. The yield rate of cash crops, on the contrary, harmed child feeding practices. Production of pulses had a significant positive effect on MDD and MAD. Districts with high cereal yield rates ensured that children receive MMF and MAD. There is a significant spatial association between child feeding practices and malnutrition across Indian districts. The study suggests that adopting nutrient-sensitive agriculture may be the best approach to improving children's nutritional status.