Assessment of Child Malnutritional Indicators in India with PCA

Naline Gandhi


Despite the recent achievements in the progress of child health indicators in India such as mortality, morbidity and malnutrition, the fruits of the development has failed to distribute the achievements evenly among the States and also within states, being one State performing well in one indicator and not in other indicator. This paper focuses on the nutritional indicators of children in India namely stunting, underweight and bmi by analysing the major determinants of these indicators. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS 3) data was employed which gives information for nearly 51555 children of 0-59 months.  It applies the technique of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) for creating the malnutrition index which is composed of the variables such as child height child weight and bmi. Factor scores were then used to derive standardized indices and quintiles. A KMO test was conducted to assess the appropriateness of using PCA. By considering the major indicators like height, weight and bmi, three factors were discovered which explains 65% of total variation. Gender of the child, birth order, birth size, age, mother education, wealth index are turning out to be highly significant variables and influences the under nutrition index. The North- Eastern and the Southern States are performing better when compared with other central and western States. In India, the performance of the index varies because of the major variations in religion, caste and income equality. Since nutrition depends on various factors, the linkage of nutrition with sanitation policies, environment policies, agriculture related policies and infrastructure is extremely needed to address this under nutrition.


Malnutrition Index, Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Stunting, underweight.

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