SHOCKING REVELATIONS OF MALNUTRITION IN CHILDREN IN INDIA –DR CHOPRA
The latest report of the NATIONAL FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY- 5 tells us that malnutrition in children has risen in majority of the Indian states and this is indeed shocking.
Child growth is internationally recognised as an important indicator of nutritional status and health in populations. Before pondering over the details of survey, we need to understand conceptually a little about Malnutrition in children
According to WHO malnutrition incorporates in itself wasting, stunting, less body weight than required, obesity, deficiency of vitamins, minerals and consequent diet-related non communicable diseases.
Stunting: Children who suffer from growth retardation as a result of poor diets or recurrent infections tend to be at a greater risk of illness and death and this is called STUNTING. Stunting is the result of long-term nutritional deprivation and often results in delayed mental development, poor school performance and reduced intellectual capacity. This in turn affects economic productivity at national level.
Wasting: Wasting in children is a symptom of acute under nutrition, usually as a consequence of insufficient food intake or a high incidence of infectious diseases, especially diarrhoea.Wasting in turn impairs the functioning of the immune system and can lead to increased severity, duration and susceptibility to infectious diseases and an increased risk of death.
Underweight: As weight is easy to measure, this is the indicator for which most data have been collected in the past. Evidence have shown that the mortality risk of children who are even mildly underweight gets increased, and severely underweight children are at even greater risk.
INDIAN SCENARIO OF MALNUTRITION IN CHILDREN
Kids below the age of five make the most vulnerable group of malnutrition in India. This survey has highlighted that leaving aside Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim the remaining states which were assessed ( Total 22) have shown burden on any of the three markers of malnutrition, viz. stunting, wasting and underweight.
The most disheartening revelation is that eight states have reported a surge across all the three markers of child malnutrition as compared to figures of 2015-16.On an average one in three in surveyed states has been found stunted, one in six wasted and one in four underweight.Even incidence of severe respiratory diseases among children grew in many states in last four years .
The Covid 19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with the health of children, pregnant women and elderly, is no exaggeration. Its exact role in the rise of incidence of malnutrition in the Indian kids below five, is perhaps yet to be ascertained or revealed by the experts.
Malnutrition robs children of the golden period of their lives- CHILDHOOD, future and leaves their lives hanging in balance.
Poor child feeding practices are taken as key factors behind malnutrition of the under five kids. Not only the socio-economic elements are of crucial importance but the plans and commitments of the government are of paramount significance.To wipe away malnutrition from the country(As desired by the Centre) by 2022 is indeed a herculean task lest the authorities do some serious introspection, restructure its schemes, policies and take the issue on war-footing.
DR.SUNIL CHOPRA ,LUDHIANA.INDIA 9815574644