Assessment of socio-economic status, food security and socio-demographic factors associated with birth weight among the tribal children of West Bengal, India

Socioeconomic status and food security are very important factors related to livelihood. Agriculture is the basic source of income for tribal people. The present study assesses the socio-economic status, food security, agricultural land, paddy crop production and consumption among two tribal communities in West Bengal, India. It determines the relationship between socio-demographic factors and birth weight among tribal children aged 1 to 5 years. Data is collected through house-to-house interviews. A total of 848 households (434 Santal and 414 Bhumij) were studied. The data was analyzed by SPSS software (ver. 16.0). The majority of the households belong to a low socioeconomic status and significant ethnic associations (p= <0.05) were found. Agricultural land, paddy crop production and consumption were higher in the Santal community. High food insecurity was observed in both ethnic groups (Bhumij = 56.3%; Santal = 55.5%). Socioeconomic status was significantly associated with food security in both ethnic groups (p= < 0.001). Birth order and socio-economic status wise positively significant associations found with the birth weight of the tribal children. The present study concludes that the effects of birth order and socio-economic status on child birth weight and similarly, birth weight affect children’s future growth and development.