Prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children is very high in many developing countries in the world. As a step towards reducing the level of malnutrition, there is need to identify the important determinants of malnutrition in the specific context. This study examines the important socioeconomic determinants of malnutrition among under-five children in India, using the household production model. Descriptive results from National Family Household Survey- III, 2005-‘06 data show that around 70% (38,000 out of 51,560) children from all parts in India are malnourished (z-score below -1 SD) and 48.0%, 42.5% and 20.89% of the sample children under five are stunted, underweight and wasted respectively. The OLS and an ordered probabilistic model are used to estimate the determinants of child malnutrition econometrically. The covariates of child malnutrition are selected on the basis of the econometric model setup, descriptive statistics of socio-demographic characteristic of households and past literatures. When the outcome variable is categorical, it is often based on an odd ratio and marginal effect, making the interpretation much complex and varying depending on the category of malnutrition. However, the results are consistent with our expectations and show that the child malnutrition varied significantly with family wealth, mother‘s education, mother‘s age at first baby birth, birth history, family size etc. To reduce the present high rate of malnutrition, the study suggests the targetting of women with education programmes and provision of healthy environment.
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