Despite significant economic improvement over the last two to three decades and an overarching goal of addressing health needs through a variety of comprehensive programs, India’s health outcomes have been less outstanding. Stunting, underweight, and thinness were shown to be prevalent in 25.51%, 32.99%, and 26.91% of the children in this study, respectively. The prevalence of stunting among the children investigated was moderate, but the prevalence of underweight was very high, according to the WHO scale of severity malnutrition . Various research, both in India and overseas, have shown similar outcomes. When compared to a community-based cross-sectional research conducted in West Bengal, where 26.5% of children were stunted and 38.7% were underweight, this study demonstrated a lower prevalence of stunting and underweight . In Orissa, India’s south-eastern state, the prevalence of underweight, stunting, and thinness was 24.61%, 39.51%, and 48.35%, respectively . In comparison with global estimates, the prevalence of stunting among children in this study was lower than that reported in Bangladesh (60%) , Ethiopia (39.8%) , and Egypt (53.2%)  but greater than that in Brazil (15.5%) .
The likelihood of a child being undernourished increased with age, according to one study. In terms of stunting and thinness, the age gap was significant. The increased frequency of parasite infection seen with increasing age may be linked to the higher prevalence of undernutrition among older children . Similarly, many studies in India and elsewhere have found that older children are more prone than younger children to become malnourished [3, 12, 13, 25]. In comparison with girls, boys had a greater chance of being malnourished. Male children were also shown to be more likely than female children to be undernourished, according to several studies [8, 15]. The cause of the gender gap in undernutrition is unknown; however, some studies have found that boys are more influenced by environmental stress while playing, such as frequent illnesses and exposure to toxins and air pollution, than girls [8, 15].
The literature on the causes of malnutrition is extensive. Low diet, poor socio-economic conditions, environmental, socio-demographic inequality, and ethnicity are the main causes of undernutrition in developing countries [10, 12, 26, 27]. According to Maia et al., socio-economic, cultural, and environmental factors that interfere with nutrient intake have a greater impact on malnutrition .
Parental educational and occupational statuses were found to be independently linked with children’s undernutrition in this study. In comparison with children whose mothers worked in other career groups, we discovered that children whose mothers worked in professional jobs had superior nutritional results. When compared to children of better-educated mothers, children of illiterate or less educated mothers were more likely to be undernourished. The recent study also discovered that children whose mothers worked in agriculture had a higher risk of malnutrition. Women working in the agricultural sector in India have lower educational levels and come from impoverished families. Higher educational and occupational status may have an indirect impact on a child’s nutritional health by influencing the family’s living conditions, child care, knowledge of child-rearing techniques, diet quality, and physical surroundings . Other studies in India , Ethiopia , Brazil , Egypt , and Bangladesh  found that children from uneducated parents were more likely to be undernourished than children from educated parents. It is claimed that women in professional jobs with higher educational levels are more aware of personal hygiene, have greater access to household resources, and have the ability to make independent decisions that improve children’s nutritional status as a result of their exposure to the outside world . Mesfin et al. found that children born to working mothers had a higher risk of malnutrition than children born to housewives . Undernutrition was more common in children from rural regions than in children from urban areas. This was in line with previous research [13, 24]. The disparity could be related to a lack of health knowledge, medical service accessibility, and dietary awareness among rural women. In addition, there are significant disparities in India’s healthcare system between rural and urban areas. Children from lower-income families were more likely to be undernourished. According to Tigga et al., the prevalence of child undernutrition was higher in poor families . Lower socio-economic status is linked to poor economic position and low family literacy, which leads to lower purchasing power and food insecurity, all of which contribute to greater rates of undernutrition .
In comparison with joint families, children raised in nuclear homes were more likely to be undernourished. In a prior research of teenagers in West Bengal, it was discovered that children raised in nuclear homes were more likely to be undernourished than those raised in united families . Similar findings were also reported by Sapkota and Gurung .
Children who drank untreated water had a higher prevalence of undernutrition. Similarly, several studies have found that those who do not have access to clean water are more likely to contract infections and develop chronic diseases, which increases the risk of malnutrition [3, 14, 17]. In this study, inadequate sanitation was found to be a risk factor for child malnutrition. Poor sanitation can have a negative impact on one’s health and nutrition, as well as promote the spread of chronic diseases . Unsanitary conditions and practices, such as unsanitary latrines, excrement on premises, open drainage surrounding or near the house, and drinking unprotected water, can raise the risk of infectious disease, which can lead to malnutrition. The current study did not look at the prevalence of parasite infestations, diarrhea episodes, or other chronic disorders. Our research location is known to be a cholera- and malaria-endemic area, and other particular illnesses, such as chronic parasite infestations linked to malnutrition, were common . Because of the filthy surroundings, it was likely that the rural population was more susceptible to infections. Rural folks wash their dishes and clothes in contaminated pond water, making them more prone to parasitic and chronic diseases, potentially leading to a higher frequency of malnutrition [8, 10, 32].