Sunday, January 24, 2010
Infants born to child brides in India (married before the age of 18) have a higher risk of malnutrition than children born to older mothers
Despite significant economic growth, India still has the highest number of under-five deaths in the world. Almost half (44.5%) of 20-24 year olds in India are married before they are 18 and almost a quarter (22%) of the same age group have given birth by the time they reach 18. Scientists analysed the data of a representative sample of almost 125,000 Indian women between the ages of 15 to 49. The study was restricted to births that took place in the last five years to women who had been married between the ages of 15 to 24 - this included over 19,000 births to almost 13,500 mothers. The results show that the majority of births (73%) were born to child brides. Among the currently living children, the majority (67%) were malnourished - meaning they were either underweight or suffering from wasted or stunted growth.