Looking Beyond Gender Attitudes of Rural Mothers on the Nutrition and Health of their Children:A Comparative Study among Santhals and Non-Santhals in West Bengal
Child malnutrition is a chronic problem in India according to NFHS-3, Forty eight per cent of children under the age of five, are stunted due to chronic under nutrition, with 70 % being anaemic. This dismal nutrition situation of children is very much a matter of gender as women differ from men in specific nutritional needs during adolescence, pregnancy and lactation. Further, girls today are women tomorrow which leads to an intergenerational cycle of malnourishment where the under nourished mother gives birth to a malnourished child. Also, women (mothers) are mostly responsible for the up keep and care of the child in its formative years, so her gender attitudes are consequential to the nutritional and health entitlements of the child. In the above context the present study focuses on the nutritional entitlements of the 515 primary school going children of 300 women from three districts of rural West Bengal by applying Clinical Nutrition Survey Chart, 24 h recall method and Food Frequency Questionnaire, health and immunization records. Nutrient intake and consumption frequency of all the 6 food groups, like meat and protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, fats and oils, were collected for the afore-mentioned sample. SPSS-17 was used for statistical calculation. It was seen gender outlook of the tribal population was more egalitarian than the general population at 0.05% level of significance. Also factors like birth order, age at weaning and mother's age at marriage were detrimental to the malnourishment status of the child.
Gender, Nutrition, Health, Malnutrition, Santhal.
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