Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indian Mother's Weight Responsible for ....

I read this news article on how the low-weight of mothers at the the time of pregnancy, and low weight gain during pregnancy, largely contributes to the shortness of Indians, as compared to the Africans. Not many of us Indians mind that of course. We are a billion people strong group of smallish people. We all look into each other's eyes, and speak directly to one another. It is all cool.

And yet, there is reason to think. Lighter birthing moms, leading to an entire nation's smallness? Is that really not quite un-necessary? Why are Indian girls not in the normal BMI? Why are they underweight? And the needle points back to the same age-old suspect--gender bias. Female child in the house receives a relatively scrappier meal (in terms of quantity and quality) than the male child. Most of us, from the middle class, will think of this as just a tale, but the larger proportion of Indians who actually reside in the rural areas, and/or are poor, commonly practice this food rationing.

There is so much to write about gender biases in the Indian context, but I want to make this column purely about height. While height, by one thinking, can be trivialised as a vanity issue, it is not unfair to investigate physical smallness of a nation , as a lack of height. There is something lacking. And that's not the extra inches on people standing, but the essential ingredients on the plate of the Indian girl child.

On our part, we can start to reboot the system one household at a time. Let's engage the women of the house in eating, just as much as they are a part of meal-making. If for some reason, some dish is in limited supply that day, share it equally, or at least in fair proportions. Let's ensure everyone in the house gets all the essential nutrients-dairy, meat, grain, protein etc. Gender neutrality needs to start at the dining table, starting now...we have a loooooooooooong way to go to catch up on height!


YouDee!! said...


prettylife said...

Well written Nidhi!! You are right, gender bias starts right at home, unfortunately lot of times perpetuated by women themselves. I cannot overemphasize how big a role mothers play in a kids life as to how they perceive the world. Starting with their physical and emotional needs.
I am so thankful to have a mother who I have never ever once heard in my life justify or support the disparity.

eAnjali said...

Yes Prettylife, you got it bang on....mothers are the biggest teachers on ways of life. I realised this most after I became a mother......my kids show me the sides of me, I myself was unconscious of. They are mirrors of us like nothing else can be.