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Sanitation and child height in the news

Blog Post1 min read

At rice, one of the threats to human development in India that we emphasize most is the effect of widespread open defecation on children’s growth and development – reflected most readily in height and stunting. The important connection between sanitation and child height has been highlighted in the news twice this week:

Mint, India’s branch of the Wall Street Journal, released my op-ed today: “Coming up short in India: Debates on malnutrition ignore links with sanitation and disease and the burdens these impose on children.” This article was partially motivated by Arvind Panagariya’s recent and too optimistic opinion on child height in India in Economic and Political Weekly.

Earlier this week, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh – who has long insisted on the urgency of eliminating open defecation – spoke about the effects of poor sanitation on child malnutrition at an event to mark the new Lancet nutrition series:

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r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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