Food Prices and Child Mortality in India: Cross-District Analysis of the Indian District Level Household and National Sample Surveys, 2002-2008

Jasmine Fledderjohann, University of Oxford
Sukumar Vellakkal, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
David Stuckler, University of Oxford

Child malnutrition and mortality remain high in India. We investigated the role of rising food prices. Using the District Level Household Survey, we calculated district NNMR, IMR, CMR, and U5MR using life tables. Sociodemographic and economic controls were calculated using weighted means. Data were paired with food prices from the National Sample Survey (n=365). Prices were regressed on mortality using linear differenced regression models, and were disaggregated by Empowered Action Group (EAG) versus non-EAG states. We found a positive relationship between food prices and NNMR (b=0.48) and IMR (b=0.35). Meat prices are positively associated NNMR (b=0.33), IMR (b=0.29) CMR (b=0.31), and U5MR in EAG states. A similar pattern is observed for dairy. In non-EAG states, food prices are not significant. A negative relationship was found between cereals and NNMR (b=-0.11) and IMR (b=-0.07) in EAG states. Cereal-dominated diets may increase the risk of micronutrient deficiency and mortality.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families