National Nutrition Week 2015: Why India needs to curb child malnutrition

National Nutrition Week 2015: Why India needs to curb child malnutrition

Written by Akansha Jhalani |Published : September 1, 2015 2:07 PM IST

National Nutrition week is observed annually in India from September 1 to 7. The objective of the National Nutrition Week is to review the frequency of problems pertaining to diet and nutrition, to establish appropriate techniques to target and prevent the problems and to create awareness about the importance of adequate diet and nutrition. The theme this year is Better Nutrition: Key to development. The focus is also on child malnutrition and ways to curb it. Here are some shocking stats that need immediate attention to improve our children s future.

Good nutrition is a human right. Giving a child sound nutrition from the start has a direct impact on his growth and development. A balanced, nutritious meal helps in the appropriate physical, mental and emotional development. But these facts say a different story altogether.

The level of child undernourishment remains unacceptable throughout the world, with 90% of the developing world s chronically undernourished (stunted) children living in Asia and Africa. In India, 20% of children under five years of age suffer from wasting (low weight for height) due to acute undernutrition. More than one third of the world s children who are wasted live in India. Not just this, 43% of Indian children are underweight. Also read - Are our policies to fight child malnutrition flawed?

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A healthy diet provides children with all the essential nutrients required for proper functioning and development. An inadequate diet in turn curbs appropriate growth of the child.

Malnutrition has a devastating impact on children. It causes low immunity which makes them susceptible to illness and diseases. It may lead to stunting, delayed physical and mental development, physical impairments and many long term implications.

For many years nutrition has been a neglected area for human growth and development. But over the past decade serious efforts to combat and prevent malnutrition have been implemented that focus around food security, overall health and hygiene, poverty alleviation, nutrition education, etc. It is of utmost importance that we invest in adequate nutrition for one and all.

Statistics taken from unicef.in