The Crisis of Malnutrition in India (Nutritional Week)

By      04-Sep 2019       Reading Time: 9 Mins

The Crisis of Malnutrition in India (Nutritional Week)

National Nutrition Week is acknowledged as soon as the month of September embarks!

Food and Nutrition Board within Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India is the platform that launched National Nutrition Week in the year of 1982 which is now observed throughout India in the very first week of September i.e., from 1st September to 7th September.

As the name suggests, National Nutrition Week (NNW) is an annual event which highlights the significance and the functioning of right nutrition for a human body.

Meaning of Right Nutrition for a Human Body?

Well, a balanced diet with the correct combination of fundamental nutrients along with calories is the meaning of right nutrition for a human body. Nonetheless, it’s a key for smooth growth and development of the body.

The objective of celebrating National Nutrition Week (NNW) is to raise awareness for the importance of nutrition for better health which has an impact on overall economic growth, development and productivity.

The Crisis of Malnutrition in India- The Theme 2019

Malnutrition is a term referred to the deficiency, excesses or imbalances of nutrients in a person’s body.

Talking about malnutrition further wards, – it covers 5 segments!

  • Less height according to the age (Stunted)
  • Less weight according to the age (Underweight)
  • Less weight according to the height (Wasting)
  • Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Obesity

India has done exemplary performance over the years and has taken economic growth up by 50% since 1991. However, still, India is a place where 194.4 million people are undernourished. Globally 1 in 5 deaths were linked with poor diet in the year of 2017. Hence, to tackle with such raising health issues, NNW’s agenda is to spread awareness amongst people about the significance of nutrition and a well-balanced diet that has been in practice for nearly about four decades.

Hard Truth to be Faced about Malnutrition

  • Approximately 25.5 million children out of 50.5 million children in India are wasted globally.
  • Around 31% of children under age 5 are stunted in Bihar.
  • Almost 52% of women are anemic (Maternal Anemic) in Indian that has a direct influence to child’s nutrition.
  • India is a third undernourished country when counted on global level.
  • India has 5 major states (Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya) with malnourished children.
  • In India, more than 3 out of 10 children are reported to be stunted.

Measures to be Taken to Improve Nutritional Status in India

  • Spreading awareness about Nutrition:

    Right message and its delivery are very essential. For example, imparting basic knowledge to the household help, factory workers or laborers working in or near our office and house can be one of the ways. Many mothers are not aware about increasing fluid intake or giving ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) to their child suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Donating to NGOs, government health care centers and helping them raise funds: This will make easier for malnourished children to provide with nutrition rehab, and other healthcare services, facilitated by health workers trained by the NGO. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes are some of the initiatives where funds raised by common people can help conduct community awareness programmes and which will deal with understanding hygiene and sanitation which is important aspect of malnutrition.
  • Popularization of low cost nutritious foods: Easy to make snacks prepared from minimal requirement of low cost, economical ingredients which is easily affordable and accessible should be encouraged.

What Government has Planned

  • POSHAN Abhiyan was launched on 8th March 2018 by our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, with the vision to make India malnutrition free by 2022. The objective focussed on reducing stunting in identified districts of India with the highest malnutrition burden by roping in anganwadi workers. The month of September is dedicated for celebration of ‘Poshan Maah’ or nutrition month, launched by the government last year.
  • National Nutrition Policy: National Nutrition Policy (NNP) has been adopted by the Government in 1993. The core strategy envisaged under NNP is to tackle the problem of nutrition through direct nutrition interventions for vulnerable groups as well as through various development policy instruments which will improve access and create conditions for improved nutrition.
  • Special Nutrition Programme The programme was launched in the country in 1970-71. This programme was operated under Minimum Need Programme. The programme was taken up in rural areas inhabited predominantly by lower socio-economic groups in tribal and urban slums. It provides supplementary feeding of about 300 calories and 10 grams of protein to preschool children and about 500 calories and 25 grams of protein to expect at and nursing mothers for six days a week. Fund for nutrition component of ICD programme is taken from the SNP budget.
  • India’s Rs 13,000 crore Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM) seeks to provide daily meals to 10 crore children in almost 12 lakh schools in classes 1 to 8 across government and government-aided schools.
  • Fortification of food items especially those being distributed through the PDS is also being taken up to address the issue of malnutrition in the country. Example, fortifying salt with iron and iodine to prevent iron and iodine related deficiencies and malnutrition.
  • National Nutrition Strategy aims to reduce all forms of malnutrition by 2030, focusing on the most vulnerable and critical age groups. The Strategy also aims to assist in achieving the targets identified as part of the Sustainable Development Goals related to nutrition and health.
  • Public Distribution System: This system is for management of food security and to provide food grains at affordable prices to the BPL (Below Poverty Line) families. Government of India re-launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in June, 1997. But this system could not achieve its desired objectives because of widespread corruption. So to remove the loopholes of this system. This programme is run by the ministry of consumer affairs, Govt. of India

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