In her reply to a question raised on the status of malnutrition amongst the children in India, the Union Minister of Women and Child Development stated that 927,606 children across the country are affected by severely acute malnutrition.
As per the Comprehensive Nutrition National Survey (CNNS) of 2016-18, 35 per cent of Indian children aged 0-4 years were stunted (low height for age) and 33 per cent under-4 kids were underweight.
Replying to a question asked about the health of children in the country, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani informed the lower house of the Parliament that there are a total of 927,606 children that are identified as severely acute malnourished.
The Union Minister also informed the house that amongst these, 398,359 children are from Uttar Pradesh.
Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh Phulo Devi Netam from the Congress party had questioned the minister about the increase in malnourished children across the country.
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“Whether the Ministry is aware that 16 States reported an increase in underweight children and 12 States reported severely wasted children according to the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS) Phase 1 report,” Netam had asked.
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Replying to the question, Irani said, “A drastic change in the status of child nutrition indicators like severely wasted and stunting, which are chronic in nature, is unlikely to happen in short interval of time. As reported under NFHS-5, nutritional status has improved in many States despite the short interval of four years between the survey rounds”.
In a recent RTI query, the Women and Child Development Ministry stated that till last November it had identified the same number of severely acute malnourished (SAM) kids between the age groups of six months and six years across the country. Of these, the highest — 398,359 SAM kids — were in Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar (279,427).
Recently, Gaon Connection had reported on the declining health of children in Uttar Pradesh which is worsened by the COVID19 pandemic
The report found that, almost 43 per cent of all under-6 SAM category kids in India are in Uttar Pradesh and 30 per cent are in Bihar (see map: Top 10 states with highest under-6 SAM children). SAM significantly increases the risk of death in children under five years of age and such children need institutional care.
Also, the national level data on malnourished children paints a grim picture. As per the Comprehensive Nutrition National Survey (CNNS) of 2016-18, 35 per cent of Indian children aged 0-4 years were stunted (low height for age) and 33 per cent under-4 kids were underweight.