London, Jan 22 (ANI): Babies born to child brides in India (married before the age of 18) run a higher risk of malnourishment compared to those born to older mothers, according to a new study.
Despite significant economic growth in the past decade, India still has the highest number of under-five deaths in the world.
Almost half of 20-24 year olds in India are married before they are 18 and almost a quarter of the same age group have given birth by the time they reach 18.
Researchers, led by Associate Professor Anita Raj, from Boston University School of Public Health, investigated the relationship between early marriage and infant and children mortality-related infection in India.
Anita and colleagues analysed the data of a representative sample of almost 125,000 Indian women between the ages of 15 to 49. The information was collected from the 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey.
The study was restricted to births that took place in the last five years to women who had been married between the ages of 15 to 24 - this included over 19,000 births to almost 13,500 mothers.
The results showed that the majority of births were born to child brides. Among the currently living children, the majority were malnourished - meaning they were either underweight or suffering from wasted or stunted growth.
The study has been published on bmj.com. (ANI)