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Child height in India: Facts and Interpretations from the NFHS-4, 2015-16

Research, Social Hierarchy1 min read

Authors: Diane Coffey, Dean Spears

Published in: Economic and Political Weekly

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Abstract:

An analysis of child height-for-age using the newly released data from the National Family Health Survey-4 indicates that the average child height increased by about four-tenths of a height-for-age standard deviation between 2005 and 2015.

Although important, this increase is small relative to India’s overall height deficit, and relative to economic progress; children in India remain among the shortest in the world. It is unsurprising that the increase in height-for-age has been modest because none of the principal factors responsible for India’s poor child height outcomes have substantially improved over the last decade. Familiar patterns of regional, sex, and caste disadvantage are reflected in child height in 2015.

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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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