under-nutrition Current Affairs - 2020

National Nutrition Survey

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organized first National Nutrition Survey. The ministry took help from UNICEF to complete the survey. The survey was conducted between 2016 and 2018.

In India, for the first time the ministry measured malnutrition that included micro nutrient deficiencies. It was done by collecting urine samples and blood samples. Apart from this, details of non – communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, kidney function in children were also collected during the survey.

Key findings of the survey

  • Around 10% of children in the age group of 5 to 9 years and adolescents in the age group 10 to 19 years are pre – diabetic. 5% of them were overweight and 5% suffered from blood pressure.
  • The survey for the first time proved the coexistence of obesity and under nutrition.
  • One in five children in the age group 5 to 9 years were stunted.
  • Tamil Nadu and Goa had the highest number of adolescents who were obese or overweight.

About the survey

The survey covered more than 1,20,000 children and adolescents in rural and urban area. It aims to assess the following

  • Micro nutrient deficiencies
  • Sub clinical inflammation
  • Worm infestation.
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Cardio – metabolic risks

CDSA – Clinical Development Services Agency was selected as the monitoring agency.

National Nutrition Week

Recently India marked the National Nutrition Week between September 1 and September 7, 2019 and marked September as Poshan month. It is important to encourage such measures as the country has around 194.4 million undernourished people. According to Food and Agriculture Organization, they constitute 14.5% of the total Indian population.

Global Hunger Index, 2018

It ranked India at 103 out of 119 countries based on the following factors

  • Prevalence of stunting and wasting
  • Child mortality rate
  • Undernourishment

According to the index, India is suffering from serious problem of malnutrition

Global Nutrition Report, 2018

The Global Nutrition Report 2018, prepared by WHO, states that India is home to 46.6 million stunted children out of 150.8 million stunted children all over the world. The report also says that

  • Out of 50.5 million children who are wasted globally, 25.5 million are in India.
  • India is the third most obese nation in the world. WHO states India as Diabetes capital with 69.2 million suffering from diabetes.
  • India might lose 46 billion USD to malnutrition by 2030.

Steps taken by the Government of India to combat malnutrition

  • Poshan Abhiyan – It was launched in 2017 – 18 to reduce anemia, stunting, under – nutrition.
  • National Food Security act, 2013 – The act made food a legal right of the citizens. It aims to ensure food and nutrition security to the vulnerable.
  • Mid – day meal scheme
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – Under the scheme, Rs 6,000 is transferred directly to bank accounts of pregnant women to avail facilities for their delivery.

What is malnutrition and under nutrition?

  • Malnutrition refers to the imbalanced in a person’s intake of nutrients or energy.
  • It broadly covers the following
    • Under nutrition – It includes
      • Stunting – Low height for age
      • Wasting – low weight for age
      • Underweight – Low weight for age
      • Micro nutrient deficiencies – lack of vitamins and minerals
    • Obesity – It includes overweight and non – communicable diseases like diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc.

UNICEF Head lauds Poshan Abhiyaan

Unicef Representative in India Yasmin Ali Haque has made the following observations about the Poshan Abhiyaan:

  • Poshan Abhiyaan which focuses on reducing stunting, under-nutrition and anaemia in women and adolescents through direct cash transfers is a massive step towards eradicating malnutrition.
  • Poshan Abhiyaan has got global recognition for its effort to eradicate malnutrition. Cash transfers under the mission provide an additional support to the family income. Hence Poshan Abhiyaan is a massive step that realises the need for eradicating malnutrition
  • The whole issue of malnutrition requires concrete action starting from the grassroot level at households as well as the community level. The first and the most important step for reducing malnutrition in India are providing sufficient nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers. The child then automatically is at much less risk of being malnourished.

Poshan Abhiyaan

POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Mission is aimed at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.

The Abhiyan aims to achieve convergence with various programmes i.e., Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Janani Suraksha Yojana, National Health Mission, Swachh-Bharat Mission, Public Distribution System, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The UNICEF Head also pointed out that the current policies are majorly focused on pregnant mothers and lactating children, but the government also needs to think about how to provide nutrition to growing children. He added that UNICEF will continue working with the government on initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Mission Indradhanush, vaccination policies and Poshan Abhiyaan.