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  Jun 05, 2020


What is Malnutrition? 

Malnutrition is a pathological state resulting from a relative or absolute deficiency or excess of one or more essential nutrients. 

What are the indicators of malnutrition? 

Indicators Nutritional status 

Stunting (low height for-age) Chronic under nutrition 

Wasting (low weight-for height) Acute under nutrition 

Underweight (low weight-for-age) Acute and chronic under nutrition 

What is the recent report on Malnutrition? 

Malnutrition was a leading cause for the death of the children in the ‘below five years old’ category, according to a report on statewise data on malnutrition presented by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). The report was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative. 

Which states are most affected by Malnutrition? 

Malnutrition accounted for 68.2% of the deaths of the children aged below five years in India. Most affected states are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland and Tripura. 

What are the findings of the Report? 

The findings of the report are: 

1) Poshan Abhiyaan, earlier called the National Nutrition Mission, was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2017-18 to reduce instances of malnutrition and stunting in children by 2022. Malnutrition trends between 1990 and 2017 show that the country may also miss global targets for 2030, set by WHO and UNICEF. 

2) The death rate attributable to malnutrition in children under five years of age in India has dropped by two-third from 1990 to 2017. However, malnutrition still accounts for 68% of deaths of children of this age group. 

3) Low birth weight is the biggest contributor. Highest recorded in Uttar Pradesh at 24%. Overweight among children becoming a significant concern. 

4) In 2017, low-birth rate was 21.4%, child stunting was 39.3%, anaemia in children at 59.7% and anaemia in women between the age of 15 and 49 was 54.4%. If the trends estimated up to 2017 for the indicators in the National Nutrition Mission 2022 continue in India, there would be 8.9 per cent excess prevalence for low birth weight, 9.6 per cent for stunting, 4.8 per cent for child underweight, 11.7 per cent for anaemia in children, and 13.8 per cent for anaemia in women relative to the 2022 targets. 

What are the measures that are taken by the government? 

The measures are: 

1) Vinod K. Paul, member, NITI Aayog, said that the government is intensifying its efforts to address the issue of malnutrition across the country. 

2) Need for integrated nutrition policy to address determinants of under nutrition. 

3) Providing clean drinking water, reducing rates of open defecation, improving women’s status, enhancing agricultural productivity and food security, promoting nutrition sensitive agriculture, coupled with harmonisation of efforts across ministries and sectors, political will and good governance, and strategic investments. 

4) India needs improvement in the nutritional status of girls and women in the pre- conception period and during pregnancy. Quality of antenatal care, including treatment in cases of complications in pregnancy. 

5) Global burden of malnutrition is a major priority. WHO Global Nutrition Targets were established for six malnutrition indicators to be achieved by 2025. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also set targets with the aim of eliminating malnutrition by 2030. 2016–25 was declared by the UN as the Decade of Action on Nutrition.