The Burden Of Undernutrition May Be Weighing India Down, Says Global Report
The Global Nutrition Report 2017 shows that over half of the women in the reproductive age group suffer from anaemia in our country.
According to a global report released recently, India is facing a serious burden of undernutrition. The report shows that over half of the women in the reproductive age group suffer from anaemia in our country. The Global Nutrition Report 2017 collected data from 140 countries and found a significant burden of 3 important forms of malnutrition that were used as an indicator of assessing broader trends. These parameters of malnutrition were – anaemia in women of reproductive age, childhood stunting, and overweight adult women.
Recent numbers suggest that about 38 per cent of children under the age of 5 years are affected by what is known as stunting – a nutritional deficiency in which children are too short for their age, due to improper diet and a lack of essential nutrients. Stunting causes irreversible brain damage.
The report also suggested that about 21 per cent of children under the age of 5 were 'wasted' or 'severely wasted'. This means that they did not weigh enough for their age.
Around half of the women in the reproductive age group (51 per cent) were found to suffer from anaemia. Anaemia is a serious health problem that can adversely affect the health of the mother as well as that of the child. Over 22 per cent of women are found to be overweight, which is a rising global concern.
As per the report, while India has made some progress in addressing under-5 stunting, there is no progress, and even worse are the trends of women of a reproductive age who have anaemia. In terms of reducing adult obesity in women, there is no positive trend or signs of any improvement. As per the report, due to the double burden of undernutrition and obesity, it becomes imperative that the problem is addressed and tackled with urgency.
The Global Nutrition Report also found that 88 per cent of countries that were included in the study faced a severe burden of 2 or 3 forms of malnutrition. The report has highlighted how this burden could lead to damaging consequences as far as global development efforts are concerned.
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In the report, it was also found that obesity and being overweight were on the rise in almost all the countries that were included in the report. There are over 2 billion people, out of 7 billion, who are either obese or overweight in the world today. Considering these disturbing trends, it is postulated that the chances of halting obesity by 2025 are less than 1 per cent! What is alarming is the fact that currently, 16 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women in India are overweight. This means that our country is facing contradicting nutritional problems of undernutrition and obesity. What is needed is a dynamic national nutritional strategy that can cater to the varied socio-economic divide of this country, and halt both these disturbing nutritional trends.