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Social identity as a driver of adult chronic energy deficiency: analysis of rural Indian households


This study investigates the effect of social identity (caste, religion, gender, and asset) on adult chronic energy deficiency (CED) using the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) data from 2005 and 2011. From 2005 to 2011, out of 63,323 adult individuals, four-fifths (85.7%) of men and two-fifths (44.7%) of women improved their health status from CED to non-CED. The lowest improvement was observed among Dalit (Scheduled Casts, Scheduled Tribes) women: 41.9% moved from CED to non-CED status. We also find significant differences in prevalence of CED between Dalit and non-Dalit individuals and households. To achieve a significant improvement in CED, programs targeting malnourishment must be prioritized the Dalit households.

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Fig. 1

Source By author using IHDS I + II data

Fig. 2

Source: By author using IHDS I + II data


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Correspondence to Ruchira Bhattacharya.

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Bhattacharya, R. Social identity as a driver of adult chronic energy deficiency: analysis of rural Indian households. J Public Health Pol 41, 436–452 (2020).

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  • Adult malnourishment
  • Chronic energy deficiency
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Social identity
  • Dalit
  • India