• Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has released targets to Curb Malnutrition in India.
  • Aims at reducing stunting and under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) among children below 6 years by 2% each year.
  • Aims to Reduce, low birth weight by 2% per annum, Anaemia among children between six and 59 months, as well as women and adolescent girls (15 to 49 years), by 3% per annum.
  • Anaemia is a medical condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
  • Highlighted the NFHS-5 Report, which comprises of detailed information on key domains of population, such as
  • health and family welfare, fertility, family planning, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, nutrition and anaemia, morbidity and healthcare, women’s empowerment etc.

Findings of the NFHS-5

  • Meghalaya has the highest number of stunted children (46.5%), followed by Bihar (42.9%).
  • Maharashtra has 25.6% wasted children (weight for height) — the highest — followed by Gujarat (25.1%).
  • Jharkhand has the highest percentage of women (26%), between 15 and 49 years, who have a below-normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

Malnutrition and Related Initiatives

Malnutrition is the condition that develops when the body is deprived of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function.

Malnutrition occurs in people who are either undernourished or over nourished.

  1. POSHAN Abhiyaan: The government of India has launched the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) or POSHAN Abhiyaan to ensure a “Malnutrition Free India” by 2022.
  2. Anemia Mukt Bharat Abhiyan: Launched in 2018, the mission aims at accelerating the annual rate of decline of anaemia from one to three percentage points.
  3. Mid-day Meal (MDM) scheme: It aims to improve nutritional levels among school children which also has a direct and positive impact on enrolment, retention and attendance in schools.
  4. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013: It aims to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerables through its associated schemes and programmes, making access to food a legal right.

Way Forward

  • There is a greater need to increase investment in women and children’s health and nutrition to ensure their sustainable development and improved quality of life.
  • India must adopt an outcome-oriented approach on nutrition programmes.
  • There has to be direct engagement with nutritionally vulnerable groups (this includes the elderly, pregnant women, those with special needs and young children), and contribute toward ensuring last-mile delivery of key nutrition services and interventions.


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