6. Original Scientific Paper

Objectives: In India, gender inequality in nutrition, from infancy to adulthood, is a common phenomenon. Women never reach their full growth potential due to nutritional deficiency. Height and weight reflects nutritional deficiency. Knowledge of inter-state variations in adult height and weight can help us to explain the differences due to socio-cultural and economic factors like poverty, illiteracy, cultural barriers, concentration of multiple ethnicity, physical geography etc. The main objective of this study is to see the variation of adult height, weight and BMI along with gender differences in the states of India. Methods: This study is based on a sample of 64984 male and 118781 female of 15-49 age groups. Data are obtained from the National Family Health Survey, 3rd round (NFHS-3) conducted by International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), during the period of 2005 to 2006. Descriptive studies and logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the variations in the difference of height, weight and BMI of adult male and female in India. Results: There is a clear positive relation of height with the economic level reflected through wealth index. Education level also has strong positive effect on height. It is found in this study that mean male height is the highest in north zone followed by west and south zone. The lowest mean height is seen in north east zone. Similar results in case of mean weight are also found in those zones but in case of mean BMI south zone show the highest position where east and central zones follow. The intensity of mean height, weight and BMI for adult females varies more than that of males but the variation pattern is similar for both males and females. Conclusions: Socio-cultural differences including differences in economic pattern may be the leading causes in the variation of height weight distribution in the states of India. In this context, level of living and education need to be given proper attention because these two seem to be the most influential factors in improving the health and nutritional status as reflected through height, weight and BMI.

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