Journal of Biosocial Science 45 (5):577-599 (2013)

SummaryThis paper examines the association between family structure and child health in India using the third round of the National Family Health Survey, conducted during 2005–06. Two important child health indicators – underweight and full immunization – are used as dependent variables. Descriptive and multivariate statistics are deployed to establish the relationship between family structure and child health. The results of the descriptive statistics show that children who belong to a non-nuclear family have better nutritional status and higher immunization coverage than those in nuclear families. Children living with siblings have worse health status than those living without siblings for both the outcomes. Multivariate analysis shows that family structure has a small effect on the two child health outcomes, which is no longer significant after adjusting for socioeconomic measures and region. However, number of siblings is significantly and negatively associated with the nutritional status of children and full immunization coverage, even after other socio-demographic and geographic factors are controlled for. Along with family structure, parent's educational attainment, age of the mother and household economic status are significant determinants of underweight and full immunization.
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DOI 10.1017/s0021932012000764
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