ibnlive » Health

Oct 08, 2007 at 07:17pm IST

Malnutrition, an ugly reality of modern India

New Delhi: Hungry and helpless — malnutrition is still one ugly reality of modern day India and it seems as if things are not about to get better anytime soon.

The third round of the National Family Health Survey carries a shocking report that over past six years, malnutrition in the country for children below three years has gone down by only 1 per cent.

This along with a UNICEF report shows that India has the highest rate of malnutrition in the world today.

"Not having enough of food can cause a lot of deficiency by way of macro-nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins or even micro-nutrients like zinc, iron and magnesium," says Paediatrician, Max Healthcare, Dr Indra Vij.

One reason as per the Ministry of Women and Child Development is that no special budget was allocated for the malnutrition problem until 2004-2005. The Centre has also been laidback in providing supplement nutrition to the affected states.

Finally more attention has been given to increasing coverage area then ensuring better distribution. End result — today about 60 million children below five are underweight.

"You would find that the child does not grow according to his age. His nervous and general development may also be stunted," says Dr Vij.

In Arunachal Pradesh, malnutrition rate has increased by as much as 12 per cent followed by 8 per cent in Meghalaya, 7 per cent in Haryana and 6 per cent in Madhya Pradesh.

The Madhya Pradesh government has now launched project 'Shaktimaan' supported by the UNICEF to reduce malnutrition and spread health awareness, but one can find simpler solutions at home.

"Whatever food is available to people in rural area, even if it's just rice and daal, should be eaten. They can pick up any green vegetables and eat them. One can also ferment or par-boil foods," says Dr Vij.

Hungry Kya is one fun slogan that urban India is well familiar with. But in a country where so many children are hungry, this perhaps becomes a little ironical.

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