Did the COVID-19 Lockdown Reverse the Nutritional Gains in Children? Evidence from Rural India
To address the missing link that goes beyond the changes in dietary consumption and food expenditures to assess the impact of the pandemic on child undernutrition, specifically anthropometric outcomes, this paper uses primary panel data (pre- and post-COVID-19) from rural India within a child-fixed effects framework. We find that the pandemic is associated with a decline in weight-for-age z-scores, with under-two children being disproportionately affected. These results have a significant value in developing mitigation strategies that can safeguard the nutrition security of children from future exogenous shocks such as the pandemic.