Comparing Differences In Child Health Outcomes By Religious Affiliation

Brandeis University

GEOGRAPHY

Kerala

SECTORS  

Health, Governance and Child Nutrition


Outline India investigated the relationship between child undernourishment and religious affiliation in Kerala, India to support a senior professor’s work in the field.

The aim of this project was to investigate the puzzle of child undernourishment by comparing differences in child health outcomes according to their families’ religious affiliations. The religious affiliation of a child's family provides information on the likely dietary restrictions encountered by a child in his or her early growing years, such as child's exposure to fasting in utero during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, possible differences in women's autonomy and control over household resources and differences in son preference. 

All these factors, which may contribute to the high rate of stunting and malnutrition among Indian children, were investigated during the study. Beyond religious affiliation, other recognized causes include lack of effective food distribution, mismanagement of resources, and corruption. 

By shedding light on relative variations in child health by religious identity, this project contributed to findings about the rate of stunting and wasting in children, addressing the concern that economic growth cannot be sustained without accompanying improvements in the health of young children.



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