Malnutrition higher in children born to child brides in India
London: Infants born to child brides in
India have a higher risk of malnutrition than those born to
older mothers, a new research has indicated.
The research found that 67 percent of babies born to
child brides in India were malnourished, meaning they were
either underweight or suffering from a wasted or stunted
However, birth weight and childhood mortality are
not significantly linked with the age of the mother, the
research published on BMJ.com (British Medical Journal`s
Despite significant economic growth in the past
decade, India still has the highest number of under-five
deaths in the world.
Almost half (44.5 percent) of 20-24 year olds in
India are married before they are 18 and a quarter (22 percent) of the same age group have given birth before they are
The researchers led by Associate Professor Anita Raj,
from Boston University School of Public Health, investigated
the relationship between early marriage and infant and
children mortality-related infection in India.
They investigated into 19,000 children born to 13,500
women who had been married between the ages of 15 and 24.
The results show that the majority of babies (73 percent) were born to child brides.
The authors argue that "in view of previous evidence
that child brides often are more controlled by husbands and
in-laws, it may be that women married as minors are unable to
advocate for adequate nutrition for their children."
Prof Raj said the findings "emphasise the value of
delayed child bearing among adolescent wives."
They also reveal the need for targeted intervention
efforts to support children born to mothers married as minors,
who may be more vulnerable to nutritional deprivation than
others in the family.