Children living in districts of India that are highly vulnerable to climate variability are more likely to suffer from malnutrition compared with children living in areas of low vulnerability.
This finding comes from a large-scale observational study that examined the:
- association between the degree of vulnerability in agriculture to climate change and child nutrition at the micro-level;
- spatial effect of climate vulnerability on child nutrition; and
- geographical hotspots of both vulnerability in agriculture to climate change and child malnutrition
The study linked an index on vulnerability of agriculture to climate change with child malnutrition indicators (stunting, wasting, underweight, and anemia) from the National Family Health Survey.
The study showed a strong positive correlation between the degree of vulnerability of agriculture to climate change and prevalence of malnutrition. Stunting increased by 32%, wasting by 42%, underweight by 45%, and anemia by 63%. Hotspots of child malnutrition and degree of vulnerability were mostly found to be clustered around western-central part of India.
Bidhubhusan Mahapatra discussed the results in SciDev.Net. “It would be important to develop cluster-specific agricultural plans based on the nutritional requirements of the area considering the climatic condition,” said Mahapatra. “Such strategies need to have a long-term vision and develop culturally-rooted and organic solutions to make communities climate-resilient.”