International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) released the Global Nutrition Report 2018, highlighting the poor status of nutrition in India.
“Hunger is quiet violence” — Amratya Sen
Findings of the Report:
• With 46.6 million children who are stunted, India holds almost a third of the world’s burden for stunting.
• India also accounted for 25.5 million children who are wasted.
• India also has more than a million overweight children.
• More than half of the women of reproductive age suffer from anemia.
• Regional distribution: District-level data show high and very high levels of stunting mainly in central and northern India (more than 30% and 40%, respectively), but less than 20% in almost the entire south.
• The differences between districts were a result of multiple factors, including gender, education, economic status, health, hygiene, and other demographic factors.
• Definition: Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
There are 2 Broad Groups of Conditions:
• One is ‘undernutrition’ which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).
• The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke,diabetes and cancer).
Micronutrient Deficiency (Hidden Hunger)
• A form of undernutrition that occurs when intake or absorption of vitamins and minerals is too low to sustain good health and development in children and normal
physical and mental function in adults.
• Micronutrient deficiency can be treated by food fortification comprising edible oil, wheat, rice and dairy products, in addition to salt.
Other Reports Related to Nutrition
• ‘Nutrition at a Glance’ report is published by the World Bank.
• ‘Global Hunger report’ is published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Strategies to Prevent Malnutrition and Improve Nutrition:
• Formulation of a nutrition policy and overall long term planning: to improve production and supplies of food, ensure its equitable distribution and programs to increase the purchasing power of people.
Direct nutrition and Health Interventions:
• Improved health care system: Immunization, oral rehydration, periodic deworming, early diagnosis and proper treatment of common illnesses.
• Nutrition education: Importance of feeding children and adults shall be inculcated.
• Early detection of malnutrition and intervention.
• Nutrition supplementation: Three structures that must be prioritized are:
- ICDS: enhance the productivity and effectiveness of the anganwadi workers.
- Mid-Day Meal Program: focus on nutrition in addition to food will make a critical difference.
- Public distribution system: Diversify commodities ensuring food and nutritional security.
• UNICEF supports community-based management of acute malnutrition with ready-to-use therapeutic foods. (RUTF).