Almost half of Indian children under five years of age are stunted whereas one-fifth of the kids have wasting, suggests a global report that tracks nutrition status of all the 193 countries of the world.
In addition, 40 per cent of Indian children do not receive Vitamin A, considered vital for growth, immunity and vision and more than 75 per cent children do not get the life saving oral rehydration salt (ORS) when suffering from diarrhoea.
Stunting and wasting are the two main parameters to determine the nutritional status of a child. Malnutrition is determined by wasting (low weight-for-height) and stunting (low height-for-age) or a combination of both.
While the report – released globally in November 2014 but discussed at a round table meeting in the Indian context on Wednesday – highlights several problem areas concerning the nutritional status of Indian kids. It also exposes critical data gap for a realistic assessment of the ground situation.
The last national family health survey – India’s largest data set on health issues – came out in 2005-06, which was cited extensively in the global report. Thereafter, for the last ten years, the government has not carried out the NFHS exercise, because of which ground realities on several public health and nutrition issues are unknown to the government.