on consumption data obtained from household consumption expenditure surveys, such as the NSS (Smith and Weisman, 2007). In the case of India, the use of 1,820 kcals per person per day as the cut‐off yields a calorie undernutrition rate of 34%, which is substantially larger than the 20% reported by FAO and used in the estimation of the Global Hunger Index 2008. Since an important goal of this study was to ensure comparability of the India State Hunger Index with the Global Hunger Index, we use a calorie cut‐off that yields a national calorie undernutrition rate of exactly 20%. This leads to a cut‐off of 1,632 kcals per person per day.

Child underweight: The proportion of underweight among children under five years of age was estimated at the state level using unit‐level data from the NFHS‐III data set (available at www.measuredhs.com). We used the WHO 2006 international growth reference and NFHS‐ recommended sample survey weights to estimate the proportion of children in each state whose weight for age was less than two standard deviations below the WHO reference.

Child mortality: We utilize the under‐five mortality rates at the state level as reported in the NFHS‐III report (Table 7.4, Chapter 7, pp. 187) (IIPS, 2007). The mortality rate is expressed as the percentage of live‐born children who do not survive past age 59 months.

The India State Hunger Index is computed by averaging the three underlying components of the hunger index – viz., the proportion of underweight children, the under‐five mortality rate (expressed as a percentage of live births), and the prevalence of calorie undernutrition in the population.

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