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The Apparent Non-significance of Sex in Child Undernutrition in India
Authors: Simantini Mukhopadhyay
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, 48(2): 1-16; doi:10.1017/S0021932015000085
Topic(s): Child health
Gender
Inequality
Nutrition
Country: Asia
  India
Published: MAR 2015
Abstract: The lack of signi?cance of sex in the determination of child nutrition in India, as revealed from the analysis of data from the entire population, is misleading and perplexing. Given that child nutrition is affected by all channels through which sex bias operates, scholars have sought to explain its inconclusive evidence, looking at child-speci?c household-level factors such as birth order and sex composition of surviving older siblings. The paper points out that sex inequality needs to be examined in the context of its intersection with other consequential social identities such as religious membership, economic status and caste group af?liation. Sex disparity in child stunting is found to be pre-valent particularly among upper caste Hindus. However, the relative advantage that poor tribal girls enjoy is reversed with improvement in wealth status. Thus, children in different social settings need customized policy focus.