India og feilernæring

Malnutrition in children is increasing across India, and previously achieved results in this area have been greatly reversed. One million children under the age of five die annually in India due to causes related to malnutrition, and therefore activists in India believe that severe, acute malnutrition should be recognized as a medical emergency. Such statistics as we now see are very alarming and far above the WHO classifications

It is not necessarily just food shortages that cause children to be severely malnourished, there may also be local traditions that say that pregnant women should eat little, for example once a day, and in some places children only get lentils and rice for the first few years. 

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), in 2019-2020, collected data from 22 states in India on malnutrition among children. The survey shows that in several of these states, far more children are malnourished now than when a similar survey was conducted five years earlier. After the society was shut down due to the pandemic, NFHS started the same investigation in India's remaining states. Experts fear that the results of this, due to all the negative pandemic has brought with it, will show a much higher number of malnutrition than in the first study.

Malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished babies. Part of the reason why malnutrition among children is increasing, experts say, may be that women who migrate to the cities for a better livelihood are struggling to access support from the government's nutrition program. Although these support schemes are state-owned, they are provided locally. Due to bureaucracy and corruption, it is not an easy matter to transfer funds from one district or state to another. Thus, the women are struggling to get support in the district they have moved to. Another reason may be that many women do not have access to the support due to lack of documentation. A pregnant woman says that she is pregnant with her fifth child, and has hardly received maternity benefits. I have applied for the government program and filled out forms, but I have only received a few rupees. Two of my four children did not survive the first years, and the two who did are late developed due to malnutrition. I fear for the life of my unborn baby.

A government official admitted that the Central Government has done a poor job of reducing malnutrition, but added that the government alone could not change the situation. Malnutrition is a complex issue for India. Many of its inhabitants live in poverty and are unable to provide as much food as they need. About a third of India's population is believed to be malnourished, and over forty percent of children get less food than they should. The Government of India is increasing food subsidies to address this situation, but the rapidly growing population and the growing proportion of people living in urban areas are still causing problems. In stark contrast to those who get too little food, there is an ever - increasing number of people in the country who suffer from obesity. 51 percent of Indian women between the ages of fifteen and 49 are considered anemic. In the same age group, 22 percent of women are overweight.


                       Indian women and children – victims of malnourishment in the country!


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India and malnutrition