A measure of nutritional deficiency and ill-health nexus for children using distance method: Application to different socio economic groups in India

Nathan, Hippu Salk Kristle (1); Mishra, Srijit (2) (2016). 'A measure of nutritional deficiency and ill-health nexus for children using distance method: Application to different socio economic groups in India' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.


abstract
Children’s nutritional status is the key to health objective of any country. It has high future dividend as any society’s future depends on the present state of nutrition of its children. Children in India suffer from massive and severe nutritional deficiency. As per the latest (2005-06) National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) data, in India 48.0, 19.8 and 42.5% children are stunted (low height for age), wasted (low weight for height) and underweight (low weight for age) respectively. This study a built on the premise of the nexus between nutritional deficiency and its reflection in ill-health indicators like low height for age, low weight for height, and low weight for age.
In this backdrop a measure of ill-health index for children less than five years has been conceived based on these three indicators. These indicators are mapped to the three dimensions of Cartesian co-ordinate system with origin representing value within the normal range (i.e. two standard deviations of both side of World Health Organization (WHO) reference standard). The dimensions are normalized using the observed maxima in ill-health in terms of stunting, wasting, and underweight. The maximums are obtained in either side of normal (for example: malnourished and obese) leading to a three dimensional geometry space of (-1,-1). Each child will occupy a point in this space. The measure of ill-health is the inverse of normalised distance from the origin. The composite ill-health index for any group is measured by computing root mean square (RMS) of individual ill-health indices. We explore the intuitive properties of the proposed ill-health index through axioms.
We apply this proposed measure for children in India using latest NFHS data. The composite ill-health index for different social (caste, religion), economic (income) and regional (states, urban-rural) groups are computed and compared. We attempt a correlation of the composite ill-health index of different states to different socio-economic, agriculture, and healthcare infrastructure indicators.

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