[Malnutrition]: Why addressing Malnutrition is important for India?

GS paper 2

India’s Malnutrition Challenge: Our National Shame Context: In the context of the recently released Global Nutrition Report 2020, we shall analyze the status of nutrition in India. Malnutrition: It refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of nutrients.

It includes both under and over nutrition. Malnutrition manifests itself in the form of: Stunting– low height for age; Wasting– low weight compared to height; Underweight- low weight for age.

Global Nutrition Report: It is an assessment of the state of global nutrition conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative, consisting of a Stakeholder Group, Independent Expert

Group and Report Secretariat. Coexistence of wasting, stunting and overweight in India:

According to the Global Nutrition Report, 2020, India is amongst the 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. Indicator Present Status in India Global Nutrition Target-2025 Stunting 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted.

Reduce Stunting by 40% in children under 5 Wasting 20.8% are wasted Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5% Overweight 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men overweight .

Not Applicable for adults (ensure no increase in childhood overweight) Anaemia among woman (19-49yrs) One in two women anaemic Reduce the prevalence of anaemia by 50% Underweight 58.1% for boys and 50.1% in girls 30% reduction in low-birth-weight

Why addressing Malnutrition is important for India?

1. Constitutional Obligation: Article 21 and 47 of the Constitution obliges the Government of India to take appropriate measures to ensure a dignified life with adequate nutrition for all its citizens.

2. Sustainable Development Goal: India needs to fulfil its international commitments under SDGs. SDG 2 points to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”

3. Addressing Health Risks: Health risks are associated with both under and overnutrition.

a. Under-nutrition: According to a report by the National Institute of Nutrition, malnutrition was the principal risk factor for death in children younger than five in every state of India in 2017.

b. Over-nutrition: Obesity causes non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and can lead to disability and premature death. According to the India State-Level Disease Burden Report, in 2016, deaths due to non-communicable diseases increased from 37.9% to 61.8% between 1990 and 2016. 4. Economic loss: According to a 2019 Lancet study, 17.3% of India’s productive years of life (disability-adjusted life years or DALYs) were lost in 2018 due to malnutrition-caused ill-health, disability, or early death.

Further, a World Bank estimate indicates that reducing stunting can raise India’s GDP by 4-11%

  1. Constitutional Obligation: Article 21 and 47 of the Constitution obliges the Government of India
    to take appropriate measures to ensure a dignified life with adequate nutrition for all its
    citizens.
  2. Sustainable Development Goal: India needs to fulfil its international commitments under SDGs.
    SDG 2 points to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote
    sustainable agriculture”
  3. Addressing Health Risks: Health risks are associated with both under and overnutrition.
    a. Under-nutrition: According to a report by the National Institute of Nutrition, malnutrition
    was the principal risk factor for death in children younger than five in every state
    of India in 2017.
    b. Over-nutrition: Obesity causes non-communicable disease such as hypertension,
    cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and can lead to disability and premature death.
    According to the India State-Level Disease Burden Report, in 2016, deaths due to non-communicable diseases increased from 37.9% to 61.8% between 1990 and 2016.
  4. Economic loss: According to a 2019 Lancet study, 17.3% of India’s productive years of life(disability-adjusted life years or DALYs) were lost in 2018 due to malnutrition-caused ill-health, disability, or early death. Further, a World Bank estimate indicates that reducing stunting can raise India’s GDP by 4-11%

GS paper 3

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