Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has announced to observe September 2018 as the National Nutrition Month to mark the country’s fight against malnutrition. The month-long intensive campaign will be undertaken with an aim of reaching every household with message of nutrition — ‘har ghar poshan tyohar’ (every house a celebration of nutrition).
National Nutrition Month
It will promote antenatal care, breastfeeding, fight anemia, convey messages about importance of nutrition for girls and right age of marriage, deliver messages about importance of growth monitoring and also promote hygiene and sanitation. It will be jointly organised by NITI Ayog, Ministries of Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Housing and Urban Affairs, Human Resources Development (HRD), Information and Broadcasting, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs and AYUSH.
India has very high burden of malnutrition. According to National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), 38.% of India’s children aged less than 5 years are stunted (less height for their age), 21% are wasted (less weight for their height) and 35.7% are underweight. Between 2005-06 (when NFHS-3 was conducted) and 2015-16 (when NFHS-4 was conducted) the percentage of wasted children went up from 19.8% to 21% and percentage of severely wasted children went up from 6.4% to 7.5%. India also ranks low 100th out of 119 countries on 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) and was placed at high end of “serious” category in GHI severity scale, owing mainly to fact that one in every five children under age 5 is “wasted” (low weight for height). Government already has embarked on Rs 9000-crore to Poshan Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission) to fight malnutrition. It was launched in March 2018. The mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight. The target of mission is to bring down stunting among children up to age of six years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.