Rally 6A

Descriptive Epidemiology of Wasting and Stunting in India

- Likely to illuminate data gaps with implications for ongoing ICO efforts - India Grand Challenge opens in Feb. and this could facilitate question generation


Describe the India-specific epidemiology of incident wasting and stunting (WHZ and HAZ < −2) and severe wasting and severe stunting (WHZ and HAZ < −3) from birth to age 24 months.


Varying patterns of wasting by geography observed as a result of analyses completed in 2017. Some geographies show a high proportion of wasting at birth with children who recover and those who don’t. A request was made following Global Challenge engagement with the India Country Office to summarize India-specific findings for the incidence of stunting and wasting.


We observe that wasting incidence was highest between birth and 6 months of age, even after excluding wasting at birth, and that there is a high seasonal variation in mean WHZ (up to a whole standard deviation). The results imply that we need a better understanding of how to approach treatment & prevention in Indian children ages 0-6 months, and need to understand better how to prevent seasonal peaks in wasting in India. We observed a high prevalence of stunting across all of the Indian cohorts, increasing as children age in the first 24 months of life.