Birth Size, Stunting and Recovery from Stunting in Andhra Pradesh, India: Evidence from the Young Lives Study
This paper presents the results of a longitudinal study, conducted in Matlab, Bangladesh, that examined to what extent the level of stunting in adolescence can be predicted by nutritional status in early childhood and maternal height. A linked set of data collected from the same individuals at two moments in time, i.e. early childhood (1988-1989) and adolescence (2001), was analyzed. The study found that the odds of being stunted in adolescence could be explained by the combined effect of being stunted in childhood and having a mother whose height was less than 145 cm. Also, girls were more likely than boys to be stunted in childhood, whereas boys were more likely than girls to be stunted in adolescence. The latter is probably attributable to differences in the pace of maturation. In terms of policy and (reproductive health) programmes, it is important to recall that adolescent girls whose height and weight were subnormal (weight <45 kg and height <145 cm) might run an obstetric risk. Following these cut-off points, 83% and 23% of 16-year-old girls in this study would face obstetric risk, respectively, for weight and height if they marry and become pregnant soon.