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MALNUTRITION IN INDIA BASED ON RECENT STUDIES



  Apr 17, 2024

MALNUTRITION IN INDIA BASED ON RECENT STUDIES



1. What is malnutrition and why is it a concern in India?

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person's intake of nutrients and energy. In India, it is a major public health issue because it contributes significantly to the disease burden, particularly affecting children under three, impairing their growth, weakening bones, and causing other health issues.

2. What recent study has been conducted on malnutrition in India?

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Hyderabad utilized data from the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) to examine undernutrition trends in India. This study analyzed data across several decades to track changes in malnutrition indicators like stunting, wasting, and being underweight among children under three.

3. What are the key findings from the IIPH study on malnutrition?

The study found that while the prevalence of wasting (low weight for height) slightly increased, stunting (impaired growth) and the incidence of underweight among children have decreased. Despite these improvements, progress has been described as sluggish, and malnutrition remains a significant challenge.

4. How does maternal education impact children’s nutritional status?

The study identified maternal education as a crucial factor influencing child nutrition. Children whose mothers had no or only primary education were at a significantly higher risk of malnutrition. This risk decreases as the educational level of the mother increases.

5. What are the differences in malnutrition rates across Indian states?

The study highlighted variations in malnutrition rates across different states. For example, in the latest survey, stunting prevalence was lowest in Manipur and highest in Meghalaya, while wasting was least prevalent in Punjab and most prevalent in Maharashtra.

6. What role do gender and urbanization play in malnutrition rates?

Male children were found to have a higher likelihood of being stunted, underweight, and wasted compared to female children. Urban areas showed increased risks of these malnutrition indicators over the years, although these trends were not uniform across all survey periods.

7. What actions are recommended to combat malnutrition in India?

The study suggests that addressing malnutrition requires a multi-faceted approach involving government initiatives, educational programs, and community participation. Programs like Mission Indradhanush and preschool education on nutrition are critical components.

8. What is the outlook for India meeting WHO and SDG targets on malnutrition by 2030?

Based on the trends observed in the NFHS-5, there is concern that India may fall short of meeting the WHO and Sustainable Development Goal targets for eradicating malnutrition by 2030. The country's position in the Global Hunger Index may also decline if current trends persist.


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