Teenage Pregnancy and Child Undernutrition in India

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) had undertaken a study to examine links between teenage pregnancy and child undernutrition in India. The highlights of the study are:

  • Child marriage is adding to India s malnutrition burden.
  • 31 per cent married women in India give birth while they are still minors despite the fact that child marriage is illegal in India.
  • Their babies are 10 per cent more likely to be malnourished than those born to adults.

The study also shed the spotlight on the social challenges faced by schemes such as the Centre s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, the Delhi government s Ladli and the West Bengal government s Kanyashree.

Data from National Family Health Survey-4

  • 4 per cent of babies in India are stunted.
  • India has an annual birth cohort of about 26 million babies.
  • Among the marriages in the country, 27 per cent are those of underage girls.

IFPRI report states that reducing adolescent pregnancy in India can fasten theprogress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to poverty, health, nutrition, general well-being, equity, and education.