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Prevalence of Undernutrition and Gender Disparities among The Indian Tribes
The present study examines the gender disparity in the background of nutritional vulnerability in Indian tribes. The overall undernutrition among the females was found to be 47.4% (95% CI 44.4-50.4) against 32.1% (95% CI 29.3-34.9) among males, indicating about a half of the female population as undernourished. The differences in the prevalence and risk of undernutrition among the young females were found to be higher in comparison to the young males. The 30-year mean BMI trend for males, females and overall Indian population in comparison to the pooled tribal population places the tribal females at the highest risk. Interestingly, male tribal adolescents of one of the Gujarat tribe (Kukna) were found to be relatively undernourished as well as anaemic compared to adolescent tribal girls. These observations reveal interesting exception as an example of a cross-culture diversity among the Indian tribes across the region. Nevertheless, Indian tribes and particularly the tribal women are suffering from higher prevalence of undernutrition which clearly indicates a high gender bias exposing the women’s vulnerability towards inadequate access to food and nutritional security. Particularly, women in younger age groups have a very limited access to economic sources. So, the health and empowerment of adolescent and young tribal girls needs to be focussed as they were observed to be the extreme sufferers of undernutrition condition.