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Over 9 lakh severely malnourished children in India


As per ICDS-RRS (Rapid Reporting System) Portal, as on November, 2020, there were 9.27 lakh severely acute malnourished children in the country.

It is also important to note that more than 40% of funds released to State governments since the launch of Poshan Abhiyaan in 2017 remains unutilised, government data shows.


GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to poverty and hunger, Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of schemes)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Status of Malnutrition in India
  2. Causes of Malnutrition in India

Status of Malnutrition in India

  • India is home to 46.6 million stunted children, a third of world’s total as per Global Nutrition Report 2018.
  • Nearly half of all under-5 child mortality in India is attributable to undernutrition.
  • Trend in Malnutrition: Despite decreasing stunting by one fifth during last decade, almost one in three Indian children under five years i.e. 31.4% of children will still remain stunted by the 2022.
  • Inter and Intra State Variations in Malnutrition is found in country with highest levels of stunting and underweight are being found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Prevalence of Multiple Types of Malnutrition among Children: Multiple burden of malnutrition is the coexistence of any two or all three measures of malnutrition: stunting, wasting and underweight.
  • Women and Malnutrition: Children born to women with low BMI and low education level are more likely to be stunted, wasted, and underweight compared to children born to women with normal or high BMI.
  • Anaemia Prevalence: Iron deficiency anaemia remains a major public health concern in India where half of women 15- 49 years of age are anaemic, regardless of age, residence or pregnancy status.

Causes of Malnutrition in India

  • Poverty: It hinders the accessibility of adequate food.
  • Lack of Awareness: about nutritional needs of infants and young children.
  • Social strains on Women: Early marriages of girls leads to teenage pregnancies resulting in low birth weight of the new-borns, poor breastfeeding practices and poor complementary feeding practices.
  • Male domination: In most Indian families, women even take food after the male members where they get less nutritious food.
  • Lack of health infrastructure leads to poor access to health.
  • Lack of availability of safe drinking water hinders proper digestion and assimilation of food and also cause water and food borne diseases.
  • Poor sanitation and environmental conditions lead to spread of many diseases that sap children’s energy and stunts their growth.
  • Other causes: illiteracy in women and large household size.

Click Here to read more about ‘POSHAN’ Abhiyaan

Click Here to read more about Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine, The Hindu

July 2024