Some India legislators elected repeatedly despite poor nutrition among their constituents

Legislators in some parliamentary constituencies in India have been elected repeatedly for years, even though undernutrition remains problematic among the people they represent, according to a recent Harvard-led study.

In an April 29, 2019 opinion piece in ThePrint, Pritha Chatterjee, MPH ’17, a PhD student and research assistant in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, cited the study, which found that a number of parliamentary constituencies in India performed poorly on nutrition indicators such as stunting, underweight, wasting, low birth weight, and anemia. In India, more than half of the deaths of children under age 5 can be attributed to undernutrition.

“Undernutrition kills the most vulnerable children prematurely, and hinders the social and economic growth of their families,” Chatterjee wrote. “These are deprived communities, which depend on elected representatives to amplify their voices. And yet, legislators trusted over repeated terms or across generations have failed the voter.”

The study was led by Rockli Kim, research associate at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Senior author was S V Subramanian, professor of population health and geography.

Read article in ThePrint: Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi, Sonia’s Rae Bareli & Maneka-Varun’s Pilibhit rank low on nutrition