Huffpost Impact

Poor Sanitation, Not Malnutrition, May Be To Blame For India's Notoriously Stunted Children

Posted: Updated:
A young Indian child of a shanty town watches in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 15, 2013. A United Nations Children?s Fund report has found that more than a quarter of children under age 5 worldwide are permanently ``stunted?? from malnutrition, leaving them physically and intellectually weak and prone to early death. The report published Monday in Dublin says better provision of vitamins, clean water and breastfeeding could have helped these 165 million children achieve normal brain and body d | AP

Children in India are exceptionally short, with their stunted growth historically attributed to malnutrition. However, new evidence is suggesting that food, or lack of it, is not the cause. Noticing that Indian children were smaller than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa — who are, on average, poorer and hence less well fed -- researchers have been coming to the conclusion that diseases stemming from poor sanitation are more to blame than diet.

More than half of India’s population -- over 600 million people -- do not use a toilet because sanitation is inaccessible or unaffordable. At the same time 61.7 million Indian children are stunted, the highest prevalence in the world.

Read the whole story at