Malnutrition Current Affairs - 2019

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UNICEF: The State of World’s Children Report

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund-UNICEF provides emergency and healthcare to children and mothers in countries that were devastated by world war II. The organization releases “The State of the World’s Children Report” annually.

The report stated that despite of 40% drop in stunting of children in poor countries between 1990 and 2015, 149 million are still too short for their age.

Key findings of the report

  • A third of world’s children under five years of age, which is around 700 million, have nutrition problems. They are undernourished or face overweight problems.
  • 50 million are affected by wasting. Wasting is chronic thinness of the body which is mainly due to poverty.
  • Only 2 out of 5 infants of breast fed. This is also a primary cause for increased undernourished children
  • Japan has the least Infant Mortality Rate. In Japan no packed lunches are allowed in schools. School lunches are created by nutritionists and are provided in all schools through out Japan. Each meal is designed to have 600 to 700 calories.
  • Japan has the lowest IMR. Out of children that are under age 5, 14.42% are obese or overweight. The US tops the UNICEF ranking with 41.86%, followed by Italy with 36.87% and France at 30.09%

POSHAN Atlas to map crops

In order to tackle malnutrition, GoI is planning to develop an atlas to map crops and food grains grown all over the country. The initiative was launched by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani during the fifth National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges

Aim of the initiative

This is done to promote regional cropping pattern and nutritious protein rich food in local areas. It is being developed and implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The initiative will aid Poshan Abhiyan that is focusing on ensuring nutrition of women, children and pregnant mothers. The atlas is to be developed along with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Deenadayal Research Institute.

Outcomes of the Council meet

  • A system of ranking is to be introduced to acknowledge the unsung heroes of Poshan Abhiyan. It includes Anganwadi workers and ASHA workers who work tirelessly and selflessly. The ranking will be based on health and nutritional parameters and is to be developed by NITI Aayog
  • The council discussed about the challenges faced by aspirational districts that are lagging behind
  • The Anganwadi workers are to be trained in use of smart phones, tools to upload data, etc
  • The Ministry submitted its report of POSHAN Maah that was observed in September 2019

National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges

The National Council was established under Poshan Abhiyan. The key role of the council is to coordinate and review convergence among ministers. This is to help them providing policy directions to address nutrition challenges in India.

Objectives of the council
  • It provides policy directions through coordinated inter – sectoral action
  • The Council reviews programs for nutrition on quarterly basis.
  • It also reviews and coordinates convergence among ministries.

Nutrition Challenges in India

According to World Bank Global Nutrition Report, 2018, malnutrition costs around 10 billion USD annually in India. According to National Family Health Survey – 4 (2015 – 16), 48% of undernourished children suffer from stunting, 19.8% of undernourished children suffer from wasting and 42.5% of undernourished children suffer from underweight.

According to NITI Aayog, the problem of under nutrition was predominant in the states of Maharshtra, Goa, Karnataka, UP and Rajasthan.

Poshan Maa

The entire month of September was celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah. The Theme of 2019 Poshan Maa was “Complementary Feeding”. The purpose of celebrating Poshan Maa is to take the message of importance of nutrition to every nook and corner of the country. Also it aims to create awareness on complimentary food, treatment and prevention from infections in children.