Increasing socioeconomic inequality in childhood undernutrition in urban India: trends between 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06

Health Policy Plan. 2015 Oct;30(8):1003-16. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czu104. Epub 2014 Oct 21.


This article examines the trends and pattern in socioeconomic inequality in stunting, underweight and wasting among children aged <3 years in urban India over a 14-year period. We use three successive rounds of the National Family Health Survey data conducted during 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06. The selected socioeconomic predictors are household wealth and mother's education level. We use principal component analysis to compute a separate wealth index for urban India for all three rounds of the survey. We have used descriptive statistics, concentration index and pooled logistic regression to analyse the data. The results show that between 1992-93 and 2005-06, the prevalence of childhood undernutrition has declined across household wealth quintiles and educational level of mothers. However, the pace of decline is much higher among the better-off socioeconomic groups than among the least-affluent groups. The result of pooled logistic regression analysis shows that the socioeconomic inequality in childhood undernutrition in urban India has increased over the study period. The salient findings of this study call for separate programmes targeting the children of lower socioeconomic groups in urban population of India.

Keywords: Concentration index; pooled logistic regression; socioeconomic inequality; undernutrition; urban India.

MeSH terms

  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Thinness / epidemiology
  • Thinness / etiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Population / trends*