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As per the recent report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 4 conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015-16, 22.9% women (15-49 years of age) are underweight (BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2).

The five States having highest percentage of malnutrition among women are

  1. Jharkhand (31.5%),
  2. Bihar (30.4%),
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli (28.7%),
  4. Madhya Pradesh (28.4%),
  5. Gujarat (27.2%) and Rajasthan (27%).

Several schemes with direct as well as indirect interventions are being implemented across the country.

Schemes like Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojna (PMMVY) under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme are direct targeted interventions being implemented to address the problem of malnutrition among women and children in the country.

  • Anganwadi Services Scheme aims to improve the nutritional and health status of pregnant women & lactating mothers and reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity and malnutrition. Under the Scheme, pregnant women and lactating mothers are provided supplementary nutrition, nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services.
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls is implemented for out-of-school adolescent girls in the age group of 11-14 years for self-development and empowerment of adolescent girls; improvement of nutritional and health status; to promote awareness about health, hygiene & nutrition; support to out-of-school Adolescent Girls for successful transition back to formal schooling or bridge learning/skill training; upgrade their home-based skills and life skills.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is implemented with an aim to provide cash incentive to improve health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) and to compensate partially the wage loss in terms of cash incentive so that the woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of the first child.
  • Government has set up POSHAN Abhiyaan on 18.12.2017. One of the goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan is to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner.

Further, to address malnutrition among women, the steps taken under the National Health Mission (NHM), a flagship programme of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, are

  • Anaemia Mukt Bharat;
  • organization of Monthly Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition days for provision of maternal and child health services and
  • creating awareness on maternal and child care;
  • Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation;
  • calcium supplementation and
  • promotion of iodized salt.
December 2023