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The Journal of Community Health Management

Height as an expression of life histories: A study of intergenerational variation and determinants among tribal men

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Author Details: Krishna Kumar Choudhary

Volume : 5

Issue : 2

Online ISSN : 2394-2738

Print ISSN : 2394-272X

Article First Page : 89

Article End Page : 99


Introduction: Despite the advertised impressive economic growth, stunting in children continues to be an important problem in India demanding further exploration of enigma of height. Role of socio-economic factors, environmental variables and genetic factors have been documented. Till recent past it was also argued that Indians are a different genetic pool and would need separate standards for measuring heights. It is important to understand phenomenon of height and its determinants.
Objective: The aim of the study is to identify the intergenerational variation in adult height among tribal men and its determinants; to understand the structural changes in the pattern of food composition and adequacy in the neoliberal era, and illness histories along with changes in the health care service accessibility for understanding determinants of the height.
Materials and Method: Two groups of villages were selected with different developmental levels as reflected in their backwardness, road connectivity, employment opportunities and poverty levels from Salumber Block in Rajasthan. The social history of these two groups of villages was collected through key person interviews and available records to understand the changes happening in living condition over a period of time. Average heights of adults and its patterns from the selected six villages were assessed through a sample of 573 adult men. The selection of 573men was done through systematic sampling process household. Adult male (20-60 years) of every 3rd household were the part of study for analysis of the intergenerational variation. Childhood history of 120 adult males (10 from each stratum of 20-40 years and 40-60 years) was collected from every 5th household for detailed analysis of determinants of height. The childhood history was corroborated with the parents/guardian/caretaker or elder person of the family member who observed the growing periods of respondents. Women respondents were excluded from the study due to the corroboration issues. Because before and after 20 years women left their parental house due to marriage. So, in that case researcher was unable to track the person who observed the growing age periods of women. The selection of generations is based on the age group division. Age group 20-40 and 40-60 represent current generation and earlier generation, respectively.
Results: The average heights of tribal men from six villages are 162.19 cm (95% CI (161.74-162.64, p-0.001). The Meena community from the group two villages showed significant improvement in current height about 2.17 cm (p-0.002) while group one villages showed decline in average height of current generation about 1.05 cm. The days of food shortage and reported hunger in the growing age/years is inversely associated with average height gain (p-0.001). The frequency of pulses and dairy product consumption significantly associated with average height gain (p-0.03 and 0.001, respectively). Occurrence of disease and recurrence of disease in the growing age is significantly and inversely associated with height gain (p-0.001). The episodes of diarrhoea in the growing age were observed to be a major impediment of the height growth (95%CI, 21.48-24.40, p-0.001). The villages where the employment opportunities are frequently available round the year showed improvement in the average height of current generation.
Conclusion: The average height of the current generation is marginally improved. Changes in the pattern of food consumption and adequacy affected the average height of current generation in the new globalization era. Adequate nutrition intake, lower exposure to disease environment, and better access to health care services is positively and significantly correlated with height gain of the individual.

Keywords: Intergenerational, Height, Tribal, Nutrition, Hunger, Disease

Doi No:-10.18231/2394-2738.2018.0021