'Girl children get less care'

More girl kids malnourished than boys in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi

While malnutrition among children in the country has been a long-established fact, a greater number of girl children have been found to be unhealthy than their male counterparts in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.

The revelations have come out in a recent survey conducted by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics on gender divide in these states – considered to be most economically developed in the country.

The survey shows that malnutrition among girl children is 48 per cent compared to nine per cent among boys.

Even in the category of appropriate weight for age, girl children lag behind their male counterparts.

If 54 per cent boys have appropriate weight, then only four per cent girl children fall in the category.

The apathy towards girl children on the part of parents and family members is seen in figures of other parameters. Only four per cent girl children are taken through immunisation, compared to 33 per cent boy children.

Similarly, only two per cent girls are treated and brought up in accordance to doctors’ advice as against 38 per cent boys. It is only in breast feeding that both the genders are treated almost equal.

Both boys and girls have low levels of breast feeding with the figure for girls standing at 22 per cent and 26 per cent for boys.

The survey findings were released on the eve of Pedicon 2012, the 49th Annual National Conference of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. IAP conducted the survey in collaboration with doctorsrepublic.com. It was conducted with 679 paediatricians among the three states.

“We chose these three states because they have the worst sex ratio. The idea was to map the magnitude of child health gender divide here,” said Dr Mahavir Jain, organising secretary, Pedicon 2012.

The provisional results of Census 2011 revealed that the child sex ratio till 6 years of age in Delhi is 866 girls per 1,000 boys. In Haryana it is 826 girls per 1,000 boys and in Punjab it is 846 per 1,000 boys.

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