This paper inquires into the mainstream debate on the growth–nutrition dichotomy, with its particular relevance for India. The contention is that in the case of India the much hyped dichotomy is intriguing because well-being in general and nutritional well-being in particular continues to be placed in the context of growth performance. The paper argues that this focus on growth is misleading, not only because it fails to analyze the apparently enigmatic incidence of child malnutrition in India, but more so because it constrains a realistic understanding of the issue and therefore distorts policy interventions. By situating the issue in the diverse socio-economic contexts of 28 states in India, this paper attempts to offer insight into the debate by accommodating the role of gender and... other socio-behavioral factors into a framework for analyzing child malnutrition. To this end, the paper first conducts a cluster analysis to extend the existence of the growth-nutrition dichotomy to the inter-state level in India and then explains the same through a multidimensional conceptual perspective on (mal-)nutritional dynamics. In the process, the paper underscores that the theoretical foundation for a necessarily positive growth-nutrition linkage is shaky. While economic growth has the potential to better nutrition security, it is not sufficient in itself and does not necessarily stand in all contexts due to inherent characteristics of child nutrition, wherein the role of gender and government action come to play predominating roles as underlying factors.