A recent study by RTI revealed ‘approximately 17% of children in Anganwadis and 3% in schools are suffering from major diseases and are unable to meet the requirement of their age. A huge ratio of children is found underweight in the tests. This query was filed by a non- partisan organisation Praja Foundation.’
The reports said “the total number of underweight students in Anganwadis has come down from 17.7% in 2017-2018 to 17% in 2018-2019. In the case of Municipal Schools, the figure had come down from 5% in 2017-2018 to 3% in 2018-2019.” Of this, 1% of students were severely underweight. The title of the reports ‘State of the health of children in Anganwadis and Municipal schools’ also added that of the 2.26 lakh students surveyed in municipals schools, 7383 were found to be underweight and 1421 were reported overweight.
96000 students (say 43%) in schools are suffering from dental issues and approximately 4000 are having a major vitamin deficiency. Not only this, but major complications of 3000 anaemia cases were also detected out of which 70% are among girls.
The director of Praja foundation Milind Mhaske said that even though announcing and allocating a lot of schemes like mid-day meals and many others, school children still lack nutrition and are suffering from a lot of diseases and there is a good reason for behind this- a big amount of ₹25 crores were allotted to various schemes that are made for these children to provide chickpeas and peanuts and many other healthy foods in municipal schools in 2017-18 but not a single penny was spent in 2018-19.
However, there is a doubt on the reports over the discrepancy in the methods used by Municipal Corporation for counting up of the nutritional facts. While summing up the data, changes in the methodology have been noticed and it is exclaimed that the changes in the methods took the reports to endorse the fall in the number.
”Jennifer Spencer, the project coordinator at Praja, told The Indian Express that there are no schemes or health check-ups carried out for junior and senior kindergarten students of Municipal Schools.”
Some commendations by foundation
The foundation suggests that there is a need for a balanced diet and the awareness of proper nutrition and food to consume for children. By giving general awareness about regular exercises, diet and the symptoms of malnutrition, children can get more active and careful about their health and wellness. Not only this, but children should also be informed about different types of healthy eating habits and its positive and negative impacts on the human body.
When the school starts providing a balanced diet and health awareness to the children then only children insist on proper food and nutrition in their regular diet and home too. It is the responsibility of the education and health ministry to provide proper guidance and educate the children about the importance of nutrients filled and balanced diet,” said Yogesh Mishra, head of research and data at Praja.
The foundation also suggests that it is important to have mandatory health check-ups of students at proper intervals of time in government and private schools. Proper monitoring of various diseases is also compulsory to safeguard the health of the children.