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Why in news?

India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2020 released on 12th May 2020.

Global Nutrition Targets

In 2012, the World Health Assembly (WHA) identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.

These require governments to:

  1. Reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5
  2. Reduce prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years
  3. Ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight
  4. Ensure No increase in childhood overweight
  5. Increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%
  6. Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

India’s Position in Global Nutrition

India will miss targets for:

  1. Stunting among under-5 children
  2. Anaemia among women of reproductive age
  3. Childhood overweight
  4. Exclusive breastfeeding.

These are the only 4 nutrition Indicators for which data is available, and India will miss the targets set for all of them!

It also identified the country as one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.

Reality of nutrition levels in India

  • Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls.
  • However, this is still high compared to the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
  • In India 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic, while at the same time the rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise.
  • India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting

Causes according to the report

Inequity is a cause of malnutrition — both under-nutrition and overweight, obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.

Inequities in food and health systems exacerbate inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023