Does growth monitoring work as it ought to in countries of low literacy?

Tara Gopaldas, Paul S. Christian, Rita D. Abbi, Sundar Gujral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The paper examines various aspects of the growth monitoring (GM) component of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme of India. Data of 3704 rural children, 0-6 years of age revealed that growth of almost half of the children had never been monitored, and monitored inadequately in another 25 per cent of cases. While very few mothers (1 per cent) could interpret growth charts (GC) correctly, 87 per cent of the ICDS functionaries could do this. There was a significant and positive relationship between maternal knowledge and functionary knowledge of the growth chart (GC), and coverage of children for GM. Impact of mothers' GC knowledge on nutritional status of children was determined largely by their literacy status; however, only 17 per cent were literate. Analysis of covariance of the effect of GM on weight-for-age and morbidity controlling for socioe-conomic status and other programme services showed that GM did not have an impact on the nutritional or health status of children. It is therefore concluded that very high levels of illiteracy amongst mothers may be a major determinant to the success of GM programmes in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of tropical pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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