Nearly half of India's children below 3 stunted or underweight

Nearly half of India's children below 3 stunted or underweight

Nearly half of the Indian children under three years continue to be either stunted or underweight, notwithstanding the government’s efforts in the last decade to improve their nutrition status.

India, which has one of highest child under-nutrition rates, is home to over 40 million stunted kids and 17 million wasted children under five, says a new report.Malnutrition is defined by stunting (low height-for-age) or wasting (low weight-for-height) or a combination of both.

The report provides clear evidence on how poor nutrition  of children are not linked to economic prosperity as reflected by statistics from states. Like, over 30 per cent kids under five in Punjab are stunted even though the state’s per capita income is better than the national average.
Although Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have similar levels of income, the former has a low stunting rate of 23 per cent. In case of the latter, it is almost 42 per cent.

Yet another surprising comparison can be seen between Kerala and Goa—states with the lowest stunting rates at 19.5 and 21.3 per cent though the former’s per capita net state domestic product is less than half of that of Goa.

India’s GDP expanded by 40 per cent between 1998-99 and 2005-06 but the number of stunted children under three years dropped by only six per cent.

Post 2006, India’s GDP slowed down but progress was made on the nutrition front, says the report authored by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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