Are Slum Children at High Risk of Under Nutrition, Anemia and Childhood Morbidity? Evidence from India
Background: Urban population growth in developing countries especially in India is at a rapid pace in the past few decades. Growth of urban population is always accompanied by the growth of population in urban slums, which poses threat to the health of urban population, particularly, the health of the children. Objective: The present study aims to study whether the slum dwelling affects the child morbidity, low weight at birth, infant mortality, child malnutrition and anemia. Methods: Until NFHS-3, there was paucity of data on slums to analyze for a larger area and compare it with non-slum population. However, NFHS-3 provides data from slums in eight cities and is used for the present study. The child health aspects considered here are: prevalence of diarrhea among children, prevalence of fever among children, prevalence of cough among children, infant death, low birth weight, malnutrition among children and anemia among children. Results: Slum children belong to lower socioeconomic strata than children from non-slum areas. Children living in slum areas are 1.3 times, 1.5 times and 1.2 times more likely to suffer from diarrhea, cough and fever respectively than children living in non-slum areas. Multivariate results also showed that slum children have higher odds for low weight at birth (1.4 times) and child anemia (1.2 times) compared to non-slum children. Conclusion: Slum dwelling children are at a disadvantageous side in terms of child morbidity, anemia and weight at the time of birth.