Comment on the level of Child Malnutrition in India. Highlight the steps taken by the government to address the issue of Child Malnutrition. (15 marks)

Comment on the level of Child Malnutrition in India. Highlight the steps taken by the government to address the issue of Child Malnutrition. (15 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduce with the meaning of malnutrition among children
  • Discuss the status of Child Malnutrition in India with the reference of National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4
  • Highlight the different schemes and steps taken by the government to address this issue
Model Answer :

The World Health Organisation defines malnutrition as the deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers two broad groups of conditions. One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies. The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases.

The level of childhood malnutrition in India:

As per the National Family Health Survey-4 report:

  • Thirty-eight per cent of the children under the age of five are stunted. This is a sign of chronic undernutrition. Stunting is higher among children in rural areas (41%) than urban areas (31%).
  • Twenty-one per cent of children under the age of five are wasted, which is a sign of acute undernutrition. The prevalence of undernutrition is almost the same among girls and boys.
  • Thirty-six per cent of the children under the age five are underweight.
  • Two per cent of children are overweight.

To overcome this chronic issue the government has initiated:

  • National Nutrition Mission: Launched in 2018 with an allotment of Rs. 9050 cr for three years for the fight against malnutrition with targets like reducing the level of stunting to 25% by 2022.
  • Integrated Child Development Services Program: Launched in 1975 as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality on the other.
  • Mothers Absolute Affection: It is a nationwide program launched in August 2016 an attempt to bring undiluted focus on the promotion of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the most natural, cost-effective and an enormous resource against malnutrition that every child should have access to.
  • National Nutritional Anaemia Prophylaxis Program: NFHS-4 states that especially affect 53% of women in the reproductive age group and young children. Children 6-10 years old will be provided 30 mg elemental iron and 250 mcg folic acid per child per day for 100 days in a year. Adolescents, 11-18 years will be supplemented at the same doses and duration as adults.
  • National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & Stroke (NPCDCS): The Government of India in 2010 launched NPCDCS for awareness generation for behaviour and life-style changes, including many diseases linked to obesity.

The government has signed up to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating malnutrition by 2030. National Nutrition Mission is the latest programme to target malnutrition in Mission mode. Success of these programmes is a must to ensure that children can enjoy a healthier life and achieve their full potential.

Subjects : Social Justice

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