India worst in ‘weight for height’ among children; 90% children up to two years age are malnourished

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Updated: October 16, 2019 2:24:14 PM

Over 90 per cent children between the ages of 6 and 23 months are not even fed a minimum acceptable diet in the country.

hunger, global hunger index, GHI, poverty in india, hunger in india, india ghi score, india hunger indexThe Global Hunger Index report also shows that India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent.

Where one side of India shows a shiny picture of the rising number of millionaires, on the other side hunger is prevalent in India, that too in a serious condition. Over 90 per cent children between the ages of 6 and 23 months are not even fed a minimum acceptable diet in the country. Out of 117 qualifying nations, India ranks 102 in the hunger index. India ranks along with a few African countries like Niger, Uganda, Sudan, etc while our neighbouring countries, Bangladesh (88); Sri Lanka (66); Pakistan (94); and China (25); fare better than India in the condition of hunger. 

The Global Hunger Index report also shows that India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available. Wasting means low weight for height, which is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five and is usually the result of acute significant food shortage.

India’s child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance. Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Children are defined as stunted if their height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the WHO Child Growth Standards median.

India’s Global Hunger Index score has significantly deteriorated over the years. India scored 38.9 in 2005; 32 in 2010; and 30.3 in 2019. The report suggests that as of 2015 -2016, 39 per cent of households had no sanitation facilities which jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently children’s growth and development are compromised as their ability to absorb nutrients is reduced. The Narendra Modi-led government launched the “Clean India” campaign as soon as taking over the power to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines, however, open defecation is still practiced. 

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