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Sex differentials in childhood feeding, health care, and nutritional status in India

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Title: Sex differentials in childhood feeding, health care, and nutritional status in India
Authors: Mishra, Vinod K.
Roy, T.K.
Retherford, Robert D.
LC Subject Headings: Children - Nutrition - India
Children - Health and hygiene - India
Nutrition - Sex differences - India
Nutrition - India - Evaluation
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Series/Report no.: East-West Center working papers. Population and health series ; no. 113
Abstract: Strong preference for sons in South Asia is well documented, but evidence on female disadvantage in childhood feeding, health care, and nutritional status is inconclusive. This paper examines sex differentials in indicators of childhood feeding, health care, and nutritional status of children under age 3 by birth order and sex composition of older living siblings. Data are from India's 1992-93 and 1998-99 National Family Health Surveys. The analysis finds three reasons for inconclusive evidence on female disadvantage in aggregate analyses. First, discrimination against girls is limited to children of certain birth orders and sex compositions of older siblings, who constitute a relatively small fraction of all children. Second, discrimination against girls when boys are in short supply and discrimination against boys when girls are in short supply cancel each other to some extent. Third, some discrimination against girls (e.g., in exclusive breastfeeding at 6-9 months) is nutritionally beneficial to girls. Separate analyses for north and south India find that gender discrimination is as common in south India as in the north, where son preference is generally much stronger.
Description: For more about the East-West Center, see http://www.eastwestcenter.org/
Pages/Duration: 42, [6] pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/3752
Appears in Collections:Population and Health [Working Papers]



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