London: Infants born to child brides inIndia have a higher risk of malnutrition than those born toolder mothers, a new research has indicated. The research found that 67 percent of babies born tochild brides in India were malnourished, meaning they wereeither underweight or suffering from a wasted or stuntedgrowth.
Almost half (44.5 percent) of 20-24 year olds inIndia are married before they are 18 and a quarter (22 percent) of the same age group have given birth before they are18. The researchers led by Associate Professor Anita Raj,from Boston University School of Public Health, investigatedthe relationship between early marriage and infant andchildren mortality-related infection in India. They investigated into 19,000 children born to 13,500women 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 evidencethat child brides often are more controlled by husbands andin-laws, it may be that women married as minors are unable toadvocate for adequate nutrition for their children." Prof Raj said the findings "emphasise the value ofdelayed child bearing among adolescent wives." They also reveal the need for targeted interventionefforts to support children born to mothers married as minors,who may be more vulnerable to nutritional deprivation thanothers in the family.PTI
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