Almost half of children under age of five years (48%) are chronically malnourished. In other words, they are too short for their age or stunted. Stunting is a good long-term indicator of the nutritional status of a population because it does not vary appreciably by the season of data collection or other short-term factors, such as epidemic illnesses, acute food shortages, or shifts in economic conditions.
Acute malnutrition, as evidenced by wasting, results in a child being too thin for his or her height. One out of every five children in India under the age of five years is wasted. Forty-three percent of children under the age of five years are underweight for their age. Underweight status is a composite index of chronic or acute malnutrition. Underweight is often used as a basic indicator of the status of a population’s health.
The urban population in India is expected to increase to more than 550 million by 2030. Currently, a sizable proportion of the population in most Indian cities lives in slum areas. The increasing slum population in Indian cities is seen an indication of worsening living conditions and increasing poverty in cities in India.
The increasing concentration of population in slums and urban poverty has elicited a strong interest in urban health conditions in general and the health of slum dwellers and the urban poor in particular.
Trend data based on the three NFHS surveys provide strong evidence of declines in the sex ratio (females per 1,000 males) of the population age 0-6 and in the sex ratio at birth for births in the five years preceding each survey.
Females are under-represented among births and over-represented among births that die. Sex ratios at birth decline with wealth, suggesting that sex selection of births is more common among wealthier than poorer households.