Malnutrition in youngsters rises in 5 years


Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14

The burden of child malnutrition has risen across a majority of the states covered in the first phase of National Family Health Survey-5, signalling losses for supplementary nutrition schemes of the Union and state governments.

The latest statistics show that with the exception of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim, which have managed marginal improvements in the nutrition status of under-5 kids compared to 2015, the remaining 19 states have posted a greater burden of either one or two or all of the three markers of malnutrition — stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height) and underweight (low weight for age).

On an average, one in every three under-5 children in the 22 states reviewed by the Centre has been found to be stunted (see box) as of 2020, one in six wasted and one in four underweight. Eight states have reported a rise across all markers of child malnutrition compared to the 2015-16 data. These are HP, Kerala, Telangana, Bengal, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

The highest percentage of stunted children in India is still in Bihar (42.9 pc), followed by Gujarat (39 pc) and Karnataka (35.4 pc). Some high-burden states like MP have not been covered in the NFHS phase-1 survey and will gradually be reviewed.

Bihar has, however, managed to reduce stunting rates by a meagre 5.4 pc (down from 48.3 pc to 42.9 pc in five years). Karnataka has reduced stunting proportions by a marginal 0.8 pc (36.2 pc to 35.4 pc). The other states among the 22 are AP, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, J&K, Ladakh and Lakshadweep. 



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