India may miss nutrition targets 

#GS2 #Children #Nutrition 

Global Nutrition Report says it has highest rates of inequalities in malnutrition 

  • India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2020.  
  • It also identified the country as one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition. 
  • In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.  
  • These require governments to reduce stunting by 40% in children under five and prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49, ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight and no increase in childhood overweight, increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50% and reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%. 
  • According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available — stunting among under-five children, anaemia among women of reproductive age, childhood overweight and exclusive breastfeeding. 

Underweight children 

  • Between 2000 and 2016, underweight rates have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls.  
  • However, this is still high compared with the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia. 
  • In addition, 37.9% of children under five are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared with the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively. 
  • One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic, while at the same time the rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men. 
  • India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities. 

Stunting level 

  • Stunting level in Uttar Pradesh is over 40% and the rate among individuals in the lowest income group is more than double those in the highest income group at 22.0% and 50.7%, respectively.  
  • In addition, stunting prevalence is 10.1% higher in rural areas compared with urban areas. 
  • The same applies for overweight and obesity, where there are nearly double as many obese adult females than there are males (5.1% compared to 2.7%). 
  • Coming at a time the world is battling COVID-19, which has exposed different forms of socio-economic inequities, the authors have called for promoting equity to address malnutrition. 
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