Approximately half of the children in India are stunted. Stunting within this population is due to three primary issues; lack of education about nutrition, financial constraints of the child's mother or mothers being stunted and undernourished themselves. The highest risk factor of stunting in children is maternal height.
A study conducted by the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Boston, used data of nearly 29,000 children aged 6 - 59 months from the Third India National Family Health Survey 2005-2006. The study found that the problem of stunting continues to remain at the Regional level and can be linked to 5 main risk factors. The top five risk factors for stunting within this population are maternal height, BMI and dietary diversity, education and household wealth. Based on these findings is has been suggested that the key to addressing this problem is to ensure 'food security' and 'livelihood security'.
The Harvard study concludes that investment and focus of nutrition programmes should be on improvement of social circumstances and also to promote dietary adequacy and diversity.