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Title: Effects of the status of women on child growth : a study undertaken in the Mysore region of Karnataka, India
Author: Sethuraman, Kavita
ISNI:       0000 0001 3394 4401
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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Fifty-three percent of children under-five in India were underweight in 1993. This high prevalence of moderate malnutrition may be linked to the social status of women in South Asia. Within each community in India, women's status varies; tribal communities are the most progressive. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the status of women and child growth. It was undertaken in South India and included tribal and rural subjects. Designed as a two-part study, the first phase used qualitative methods to verify the conceptual framework and inform the survey tool for the second phase. Phase two used this survey tool and anthropometric assessments to longitudinally follow children aged 6-24 months over a period of six months. Structured interviews were conducted with mothers and measurements were obtained on 820 mother-child pairs on enrolment; only children were measured at follow-up. The follow-up rate was 82%. Qualitative findings confirmed that women's status differed between the two groups in important ways, while the socio-economic conditions were similar. These same differences reached statistical significance in the quantitative data. In regression analyses, biological variables explained the most variance in nutritional status followed by nutrition and health, and status of women variables; the socio-economic variables explained the least. Five parameters measured women's status including maternal education, employment, decision-making, freedom of movement, and domestic violence; education was the weakest measure. Excluding education, these variables explained 5.6% of the variance. Domestic violence was highly prevalent. Further analyses show that the experience of physical violence, psychological abuse and sexual coercion have a significant negative association with women's decision-making capability and freedom of movement. Thus, the status of women has a significant effect on child growth. Programmes that aim to reduce malnutrition should consider this aspect. Importantly, community-based interventions that would aim to support and empower women urgently need to be implemented within poor communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available