Malnutrition rears its head in B'luru city kids: Study

AP file photo for representation

Malnutrition isn’t a condition confined to rural areas if a study conducted on children in Bengaluru by the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) is any indication. 

Researchers found that 10% of the children surveyed were severely stunted, 16% severely wasted and 10% severely stunted.

The study — ‘Household Consumption Pattern and Nutritional Status Of Children In Anaganwadis’ at Dommansandra, Bellandur and Mandur — was conducted earlier this year as a prelude for interventions made by NGO United Way.

The study took into account the anthropometric measurements of a child. “After measuring the children’s height and weight, we realised that malnutrition was a concern even in a developed state like Karnataka,” said Dr Usha Manjunath, Director, IIHMR.

The researchers also interacted with the kids’ families to examine diet patterns.

Most of the affected children were born to young mothers who had their first baby around 20. “When the mothers are married off young, their nutrition is at stake. Many women are anaemic. This leads to low birth weight in children and hence malnourishment,” said Dr Usha.

Researchers found that there was no dietary diversity in the families of such children. They consumed pulses and cereals, mostly eaten with rice. They had white rice for most of their meals. In some cases, a form of flavoured white rice was consumed even for breakfast.

The children didn’t consume any other grains, and the minimal consumption of fruits, vegetables and greens was another concern. The study also found that 55% consumed readily available sugar-laden drinks almost every day.

The research suggested medical attention for such children as they showed a higher tendency of falling sick. As most families did not have access to a diet chart, Indian Institute of Health Management and Research, said awareness must be created about low-cost, easily available nutritional snacks.

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