Malnutrition high in 9 states

The census survey of nine states — Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — has revealed that all except Uttar Pradesh have made slight improvement in containing under-five malnutrition. In Uttar Pradesh, the situation has worsened.

The Census of India conducted Clinical, Anthropometric and Bio-chemical (CAB) survey in 2014 as the part of Annual Health Survey. The last Annual Health Survey was conducted in 2005-2006.

Chhattisgarh has succeeded in lowering the percentage of stunted (less height for age) among under-five children from 53 per cent to 35 per cent. The percentage of underweight (less weight for age) children has also reduced to 39 per cent from 53 per cent. Bihar has reduced the percentage of stunted children from 58 per cent to 52 per cent. The percentage of underweight children has gone down to 40 per cent.

Madhya Pradesh still has high percentage (51 per cent) of stunted children. The percentage of underweight children is 40 per cent. However, the malnourishment among boys is very high in the state. The stunting is  as high as over 58 per cent and underweight is 49 per cent.

Jharkhand tops list

The data shows that Jharkhand also has high percentage of malnourished children. The stunting is over 50 per cent and underweight 45 per cent. Rajasthan has 44 per cent stunted and 36.6 per cent underweight children. Odisha has 41.5 per cent and 39 per cent of underweight children.

Uttar Pradesh failed to reduce malnourishment among children. The state has 62 per cent of stunted and 45 per cent of underweight children in its child population. In the state, malnutrition among boys is slightly higher than what is among girls.The survey has covered 284 districts. The Annual Health Survey collects health information from every district in India’s eight Empowered Action Group (EAG) States (the states which could not contain their population at manageable levels).

The EAG states are  Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Assam was also included in this survey. The survey collected data on indicators like stunting, wasting and underweight among children.

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