SOCIAL ISSUE :
Modi urges people to join the fight against malnourishment.
Malnourishment in India
One of the major causes of malnutrition in India is economic inequality. Due to the low economic status of some parts of the population, their diet often lacks in both quality and quantity. Women who are malnourished are less likely to have healthy babies. Nutrition deficiencies inflict long-term damage to both individuals and society.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 194.4 million people in India (about 14.5% of the total population) are undernourished.
India ranks 101 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2021.
The global Hunger Index is based on three leading indicators:
1/4 Child undernutrition: The prevalence of wasting and stunting in children under five years of age.
Child mortality: Rate under five years of age.
Inadequate food supply: The proportion of undernourished in the population.
Further, there has been dismal progress from last year's ranking in the Global Hunger Index, in 2019 India ranks 102 out of 119 countries.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in 2017, malnutrition was the predominant risk factor for death in children younger than five in every state of India.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, malnutrition is among the leading causes of death and disability in India.
Type of malnutrition
-Protein-energy malnutrition can be attributed to an acute deficiency of food or chronic deprivation.
-Deficiency of micronutrients, such as vitamins, iron iodine and other trace elements. Sometimes this may be subtle and is often described as ‘hidden hunger.
What is the cause of Malnourishment in India?
1. Poverty: Because of low purchasing power, the poor cannot afford to buy the desired amount and desired quality of food for the family. This adversely affects their capacity for physical work and they earn less. Thus starts a vicious cycle of poverty, undernutrition, diminished work capacity, low earning and poverty
2. Feeding habits: Lack of awareness of nutritional qualities of food, irrational beliefs about food, inappropriate child rearing and feeding habits all lead to undernutrition in the family.
3. Infections: Infections like malaria and measles or recurrent attacks of diarrhoea may precipitate acute malnutrition and aggravate the existing nutritional deficit. Metabolic demands for protein are higher during infections and the child may take in less food either due to reduced appetite or due to food restrictions by the mother. Thus leading to malnutrition
4. Socio-cultural factors: Inequitable distribution of food in the family. In most poor households, women and preschool children especially girls receive less food than the economically active male members
5. Large families Rapid succession of pregnancies adversely affect the nutritional status of the mother. As she tries to manage the big family she may neglect her own health and antenatal checkups during pregnancy. Undernutrition may lead to low birth weight babies. In large families per capita availability of food is also less.
6. Poor quality of housing, sanitation and water supply. These contribute to ill health and infections thus Contributing to malnutrition.
7. Inadequate maternal and child care- Improving the primary health centres and other health care services in rural areas will definitely improve the nutrition profile of women and children.
A step was taken by the government to fight against Malnourishment in India :---
1. The Indian government started the midday meal scheme on 15 August 1995.
2. The government of India started a program called Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in 1975. ICDS has been instrumental in improving the health of mothers and children under age 6 by providing health and nutrition education, health services, supplementary food, and preschool education.
3. The National Children's Fund was created during the International Year of the Child in 1979 under the Charitable Endowment Fund Act, 1890. This Fund provides support to voluntary organizations that help the welfare of kids.
4. To implement these goals, the Department of Women & Child Development has formulated a National Plan of Action on Children. Each concerned Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/U.Ts. and Voluntary Organisations dealing with women and children have been asked to take up appropriate measures to implement the Action Plan.
5. National Health's mission is to improve the availability of and access to quality health care by people, especially those residing in rural areas, the poor, women, and children.