Over a billion people worldwide defecate in the open without using a toilet or latrine. More than half of these live in India. Just as India is a global outlier with exceptional child stunting, it is equally an outlier for pervasive open defecation.

Differences among developing countries in the prevalence of open defecation explain more than half of the international variation in child height. The fact that children in India are exposed to more open defecation from their neighbours than children in Africa can account for essentially the entire Indian height deficit. Because poor sanitation can explain the Indian stunting enigma, there is no need to invoke a genetic gap. Read More

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