Socio-economic and demographic correlates of stunting among adolescents of Assam, North- east India

Melody Seb Rengma 1 , Kaushik Bose 2 ,  and Nitish Mondal 3
  • 1 Department of Anthropology, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam, India
  • 2 Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal, India
  • 3 Department of Anthropology, Assam University (Diphu Campus), Karbi Anglong, Assam, India


The prevalence of stunting (low height-for-age) is a key indicator of long-term chronic undernutrition which reflects an anthropometric failure to reach linear growth potentials due to prolonged food deprivation and/or disease or illness during the early stage of life. The present study assesses the prevalence and socio-economic and demographic correlates of stunting among adolescents of the North-east India. This cross-sectional study was undertaken among 1,818 (830 boys; 988 girls) adolescents (aged 10-18 years) belonging to ethnically heterogeneous populations of Karbi Anglong district of Assam, using stratified random sampling method. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight were recorded using standard procedures. Socio-economic and demographic variables were obtained using pre-structured schedule. The age-sex specific L, M and S reference values were used to calculate height-for-age Z-score (HAZ). According to WHO, HAZ found to be <−2SD was classified as stunting. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, chi-square analyses, binary and step-wise multiple logistic regression analysis in SPSS (version, 17.0). The prevalence of stunting was observed to be significantly higher among boys (48.4%) than girls (37.8%) (p<0.01). Age-sex specific prevalence was found to be higher among boys than girls aged 14-18 years and contrary were observed among girls aged 10-14 years (p>0.05). The binary logistic regression analysis showed that several socio-economic and demographic variables were significantly associated with stunting (p<0.05). The step-wise multiple logistic regression analysis showed that sex (boys), age groups (13-15 years and 16-18 years), father’s occupation (cultivator) and Rupees ≤5000 household income was significantly associated with stunting (p<0.05). Appropriate nutritional intervention programmes and dissemination of knowledge at population level related to undernutrition are necessary to ameliorate their nutritional status.

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