Malnutrition in India
By admin April 27, 2015

Severe acute malnutrition is the cause of death for one million children in India. The number of children affected in India is higher than any other South Asian country with a high burden of wasting or acute malnutrition. A new study in Baran, Rajasthan and Burhanpur found that preventable deaths continue to affect children in the poorest areas of the country, particularly females.

In India, 25% of females eat fruit and green leafy vegetables less than 3 times per week. Apart from being used in tea the average consumption of milk and milk products is less than twice a week, and 16% of women have never consumed non-vegetarian foods. The study also found that women employed in unskilled jobs and those whose husbands had skilled occupations ate green leafy vegetables more frequently, and participants educated to tertiary level consumed fruit and milk most frequently. The low intake of fruit, vegetables and dairy in India has caused young women’s micronutrient intake to be substantially lower than the Indian Council for Medical Research Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA). Intakes of calcium and vitamin A by men and women living in slum areas were below 70% of the RDA.

Mumbai has been affected the most by malnutrition issues, nearly 40% of deaths registered among girls (0 to 6 years) between 2010 and 2014 were due to a lack of proper nutrition. In Mumbai, the percentages of moderately and severely underweight girls were found much higher than the state’s average. The CAG findings indicated that between 2010 and 2014, the number of moderate and severely underweight girls in Mumbai ranged between 20% and 24%, while the state’s average was 16.27%. The number of moderately underweight girls in Mumbai stood at 21.66% and that of severely underweight girls was 2.87%.

The Maharashtra government spent Rs 4,500 crore on improving child health in the last five years. In addition, ACF India and Fight Hunger Foundation announced the launch of the Capacity Building, Nutrition and Caring Practices Integrated Approach project, which is already in place in 80 villages. This can provide assistance to an additional 80,000 people. The project will contribute to the reduction in morbidity and mortality due to malnutrition related causes among children of under-5 years. The project addresses the immediate causes underlying malnutrition.
Another program being implemented to solve this issue is the ICDS programme by the women and child development department to improve the nutrition and health of children. It also aims at reducing mortality, morbidity, malnutrition, and school dropout rates. The welfare scheme’s objectives were to be achieved by providing supplementary nutrition, immunization and health check-ups. In addition to the serious health problems it causes, child malnutrition is costing the global economy tens of billions of dollars a year by depriving its victims of the ability to learn basic skills.

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