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Medical News & Perspectives |

Child Marriage Threatens Girls’ Health

Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2010;304(5):509-510. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1009.
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In some countries, a high proportion of girls will be married before they reach adulthood. They—and their future children—often experience numerous hardships and ailments, from malnutrition and physical abuse to infection with HIV.

Investigators are striving not only to uncover the many negative health effects these girls experience but also to encourage governments, local leaders, and residents to end the practice of child marriage.

“Cultural traditions are hard to change. We have to work within existing community structures and bring recognition to communities about how child marriage compromises opportunities and health for women and their children,” said Anita Raj, PhD, professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health and Boston University School of Medicine.

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Child marriage in India, in other countries in South Asia, and in much of sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, usually leaves girls with limited options and threatens their health.

(Photo credit: Prakash Hatvalne/AP Images)

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