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Submitted by K N Vajpai on
I see Dean Spears article with all alien facts of comparing height of Indian children by just considering ‘malnutrition’ and ‘sanitation’ (toilet) as major reasons. In general there are certain scientific facts about the level of malnutrition among children in India, and therefore the results about overall growth pattern and the correlation . However, in my view knowing about a child by just measuring the height certainly seems a poorly researched correlation and poor scientific argument. From this article it appears that because children in developed world take enough food, follow good infant feeding practices and have a toilet, so they are good in height. So, with this logic they fair in height with children of majority of African countries and may be Pathan and Gujjar children’s in India. With same logic what about the children in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Bhutan, Nepal and NE part of India, and for that matter in developed South Asian countries like Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea? Don’t we have to consider other major factors affecting the height of a child? In my view the researcher needs to think more scientifically and work further on all available facts before coming to any such conclusion. Again, we certainly can’t learn a lot from measuring the height of a children scientifically, while, as a researchers we can draw ‘some’ inferences about a child’s lifestyle. Therefore, height can’t be treated as an major (only) indicator for absorbed nutrition, child’s early-life health and disease history. If this is the case, then what about genetic diversity within India and various environmental and social factors? Enough food can’t be treated as a major factor for better health, but, nutritive food should be. What about majority of Americans those are poor in taking nutritive food as well? Also, there are confusing facts given in this research where in place of 74 % Household those didn’t had any toilet facility as per NFHS 2005-06 (Link: http://vajpai.org/2012/11/19/misleading-facts-still-we-can-celebrate-world-toilet-day/) has been quoted 55%, similar is the case with Census 2011. Therefore, one should be cautious while referring this study in terms of quoted facts and figures as well. The conclusions by quoting a few generic example of genetic history are among the poor facts in this research to suggest upon the children’s height pattern in India. Taking stock from Dean’s research, I wonder, how come malnourished Indian children with no-latrines from its poverty ridden states like Bihar and UP succeeded in giving world class managers, engineers, doctors, scientists, politicians, diplomats and researchers? Just a food for thought for other such researchers as well.