The Effect of Early Marriages and Early Childbearing on Women’s Nutritional Status in India

Srinivas Goli, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Anu Rammohan, University of Sydney
Deepti Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

The study examined the association between early marriage and early childbearing on nutritional status of Indian women, with a focus on Bihar and Andhra Pradesh using the data from the third round of National Family Health Survey (2005-06). The result revealed that ‘thin’ women were significantly higher among those who married before 18 years, in India (35.4 percent, p<0.000), Andhra Pradesh (30.9 percent, p<0.000) and Bihar (43.0 percent, p<0.000),compared to women married at higher ages. Similarly, women whose first birth had been before 18 years of age also had a significantly higher probability of being in ‘thin’ category of BMI than others across two selected states and India. This pattern was also observed in anemia levels. The results of multinomial regression model suggested that even after adjusting to other potential socioeconomic and demographic factors, women married early and bearing children early were in a disadvantageous position compared to others.

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Presented in Session 208: Consequences of Fertility Timing