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Childhood Undernutrition in South Asia: Perspectives from the Field of Nutrition *

Purnima Menon

CESifo Economic Studies, 2012, vol. 58, issue 2, 274-295

Abstract: South Asia carries the world's highest burden of child nutrition. The problem has attracted many scholars, and many views. In this article, I describe the problem through the lens of a nutritionist, using a robust conceptual framework, and linking perspectives from the biological and social sciences. Child nutrition is an outcome of immediate factors such as food and nutrient intake and illness, which in turn are influenced by underlying factors such as household food security and poverty, women's status and access to health, nutrition, and social services. These factors, in turn, are a product of basic societal factors such as institutions, governance, politics, and culture. Using data from South Asia, and linking to the literature, this article provides an overview of the nutrition problem in this region of the world and raises questions for further research and policy and program action. (JEL codes: I10, I14, I15) Copyright The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute, Munich. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2012
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