Height of inequality

Standard of living determines a child's height

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Sunday 15 February 2004

a child's height may not be entirely governed by his/her genes. The quality of water the child drinks is also a deciding factor. As per a study by researchers from the us-based Johns Hopkins University, children from the poor communities of Peru are nearly one centimetre shorter than kids having access to clean water and sanitation facilities. According to the researchers, lack of clean water increases the incidences of diarrhoea, which in turn leads to malnutrition.

During the study, 230 children living in Pampas de San Juan were studied for 35 months. Data pertaining to household water and sanitation facilities was also collected. The results showed that children living in houses without water pipelines and sewerage systems were shorter than kids from households having these facilities. The researchers also found that children, from houses that had water pipelines but lacked sewerage systems and water storage facilities, were significantly shorter than kids belonging to households with sewerage systems but storing water in containers.

As per experts, the study emphasises on the need for investment in measures that can alleviate the costs of inadequate water supply and poor sanitation.

Not kidding
Access to safe water governs health
Children age
(in months)
With water
No water

Height (in centimetres)

0 to < 6 60.3 59.8
12 to < 18 75.7 74.8
18 to < 24 80.8 79.8
24 to < 30 84.9 83.8
Source: www.lancet.com, as viewed on January 11, 2003

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