evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Slums and Malnourishment: Evidence From Women in India

In Under-nutrition on June 3, 2012 at 8:25 am

by H Swaminathan and A Mukherji

Am J Public Health, May 17, 2012


Objectives. We examined the association between slum residence and nutritional status in women in India by using competing classifications of slum type.

Methods. We used nationally representative data from the 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) to create our citywide analysis sample. The data provided us with individual, household, and community information. We used the body mass index data to identify nutritional status, whereas the residential status variable provided slum details. We used a multinomial regression framework to model the 3 nutrition states-undernutrition, normal, and overnutrition.

Results. After we controlled for a range of attributes, we found that living in a census slum did not affect nutritional status. By contrast, living in NFHS slums decreased the odds of being overweight by 14% (95% confidence interval [CI]?=?0.79, 0.95) and increased the odds of being underweight by 10% (95% CI?=?1.00, 1.22).

Conclusions. The association between slum residence and nutritional outcomes is nuanced and depends on how one defines a slum. This suggests that interventions targeted at slums should look beyond official definitions and include current living conditions to effectively reach the most vulnerable.

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