Journal of Biosocial Science

Research Article

HEALTH CARE UTILIZATION, SOCIOECONOMIC FACTORS AND CHILD HEALTH IN INDIA

ALOK BHARGAVAa1, ARAVINDA M. GUNTUPALLIa2 and MICHAEL LOKSHINa3

a1 Department of Economics, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA

a2 University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

a3 The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA

Summary

This paper models the proximate determinants of height, weight and haemoglobin concentration of over 25,000 Indian children using data from the National Family Health Survey-3. The effects of public and private health care service utilization, food consumption patterns and maternal health status on child health were investigated in a multidisciplinary framework. Methodological issues such as potential endogeneity of explanatory variables and the appropriateness of combining height and weight as the body mass index were tackled. The results from models for children's heights and weight showed beneficial effects of child vaccinations against DPT, polio and measles, and negative effects of not utilizing government health facilities. The models for children's haemoglobin concentration indicated beneficial effects of food consumption patterns and treatment against intestinal parasites. The results provide several insights for improving child health in India.

(Online publication June 09 2011)