Q. The reason for malnutrition/ hunger are multidimensional. In this light, discuss the factors contributing to malnutrition and also suggest suitable measures to improve malnutrition in India.
Structure of the answer:
- Causes of malnutrition in India
- Measures to overcome
Malnutrition is a physical state that includes undernutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight), inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and resulting diet-related non-communicable diseases. As per Reports 31.4% of children are malnourished.
The factors contributing to malnutrition are as follows:
- Despite increase in food grain production access to rice, wheat and other cereals has not increased at the same rate, resulting in malnutrition.
- Further, the relative increase in consumption of unhealthy food such as fast food, processed food, and sugary beverages has also contributed to the problem.
- The PDS that was viewed as a critical nutritional supplement is facing the issue of poor targeting e. having 40% leakages.
- The lack of availability of safe drinking water also hinders proper digestion and assimilation of food.
- Poor sanitation and environmental conditions further lead to spread of diseases that stunt children’s growth.
- Lastly, there is lack of adequate awareness about nutritional needs of infants and young children.
To above causes need to be tackled on multiple fronts by adopting following steps:
- There is a need for systematic data collection at the district level for formulation of policy and programme.
- An institutional mechanism in form of a Food and nutrition commission should be established, headed by the Prime Minister.
- The fortified foods need to be incorporated into a mid-day meal, public distribution shops and anganwadi centres.
- The humongous task also need collaboration with civil society to educate women about family planning and child nourishment.
- The above steps need to be adopted in association with increasing awareness about exclusive breastfeeding, use of antenatal care, consumption of Iron Folic Acid
Finally, the use of technology needs to be promoted to improve the flow of information and to encourage greater policy coherence.