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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Risk Factors in Childhood Stunting in Karnataka, India, Vary by Geography


Childhood stunting remains a public health concern in India. In Karnataka, the districts vary substantially in stunting prevalence. Using the NFHS-4 and AidData GEO datasets, we tested the hypothesis that ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ districts in Karnataka show different contributions to stunting. We found that for 30 environmental and health factors, Bengaluru appears to be distinct from the other districts. Using a mixed linear model approach, we found that for the entire state, and in both wet and dry districts, preceding birth interval, altitude-adjusted haemoglobin level and child age showed significant correlations with height for age (HFA). The wet districts showed an additional association between maternal age and child HFA. However, interaction effects also differed among the three conditions. Our results suggest that subtle variations should not be ignored when considering factors impacting child health outcomes.

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