Health

Teen pregancies linked to poor nutrition in babies

Very young mothers are likely to be anaemic.

Very young mothers are likely to be anaemic.   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

Factors such as low education levels in mothers contribute to stunting in children, says study

Teen pregnancies contribute to under-nutrition in babies, according to a study that analysed data from India and appeared in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

The paper recommends policies and programmes to delay marriage, especially in districts where there is a higher prevalence of child marriage.

The paper examined data for 60,096 women from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) to study the extent to which teenage pregnancy contributes to under-nutrition among children. The figures showed that 14,107 women first gave birth during adolescence; 31,475 during young adulthood, and 14,514 during adulthood.

According to the study, children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were 5 percentage points more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years) and 11 percentage points more stunted than children born to adult mothers.

Children born to adolescent mothers also had 10 percentage points higher prevalence of low weight as compared to those born to adult mothers.

The study said that lower education levels among adolescent mothers had the strongest impact on stunting levels, followed by socioeconomic status. Teen mothers were also likely to be underweight, exacerbating the stunting among their children.

The research also highlights that while adolescent pregnancy is more likely to occur in high poverty contexts, it could trap mothers in an unending cycle of poverty as “women who bear children early are more likely to discontinue education and, thus, have lower earning potential.”

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 7:50:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/teen-pregancies-linked-to-poor-nutrition-in-babies/article27154471.ece

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