Despite several measures taken to fight hunger and malnutrition, India may miss nutrition targets set for 2025. What were the targets? Discuss along with relevant data.
India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2020 released recently.
It also identified India as a country with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.
In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.
These require governments to reduce stunting by 40% in children under five and prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49.
Also ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight and there should be no increase in childhood overweight.
It also focuses on increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50% and reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.
According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available — stunting among under-five children, anaemia among women of reproductive age, childhood overweight and exclusive breastfeeding.
Between 2000 and 2016, underweight rates have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls. However, this is still high compared with the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
In addition, 37.9% of children under five are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared with the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic, while at the same time the rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities.