In India, 35 percent of children under the age of 5 are stunting (under height as per their age), 17 per cent of children are underweight (less weight than height) and 33 per cent underweight (both age and length). This has been revealed in a recent survey. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released the results of the country’s first Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) in which the survey was conducted to check nutritional in children aged 0-19 years.
The survey was conducted in 30 states and union territories across the country during 2016-18 with the help of UNICEF. The survey estimated 1 lakh 12 thousand children and adolescents aged 0–19 and more than 51 thousand biological samples were also taken to check the Micronutrient level of children and to check the risk of non-communicable disease.
Can go CNNS survey data showed that the problem of malnutrition decreased slightly. Government programs for the prevention of vitamin A and iodine deficiency in children aged 1–4 have also had a positive effect. However, there are also alarming statistics in the survey which indicate that the problem of overweight and obesity among children and patients is constantly increasing, leading to non-communicable diseases such as the risk of diabetes (10%).
After the data is released, it is being emphasized on how to analyze this data and create effective programs to eliminate child malnutrition and prevent the risk of non-communicable diseases. Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan termed the data released in the national survey as important and said that this will help in formulating strong policies and programs to fight and eliminate malnutrition and non-communicable diseases among children and adolescents. India’s representative at UNICEF, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haq, said, “The CNNS figures are shocking. This has strengthened our resolve to save children’s lives and enable every child to be fully empowered and it has become clear that Fast work needs to be done.
Highlights of the survey
The nutrition campaign is an ambitious target of 2018-22, in which the problem of malnutrition (stunting and overweight) in children is reduced annually and the low birth weight weight loss problem is also reduced by 2 percent annually. Apart from this, reducing the anemia in all age groups by 3 per cent is also the main goal of the nutrition campaign which will be achieved by mass movement in India for nutrition. CNNS data shows that school-age children and adolescents are still at risk of malnutrition and a lot of work still needs to be done in many areas:
1 in 4 teens aged 10–19 is leaner than their age.
5% of adolescents aged 10–19 are overweight or obese.
Apart from malnutrition, the growing number of anemia victims among children, adolescents and women of every age group in the country is also a matter of concern for the country. Several studies have proved that poor eating habits such as not eating iron and vitamin C rich food (fruits and vegetables) and limited access to health services are the major reasons for anemia. According to CNNS, anemia affects young children and adolescent girls the most:
The problem of anemia is significantly higher (up to 41 per cent) in children aged 1–4 years compared to other age groups.
The survey found 41 percent of children aged 1–4, 24 percent of children aged 5–9, and 29 percent of adolescents aged 10–19. – Other nutritional causes of anemia such as vitamin B12 were also investigated in children. Vitamin B-12 deficiency was found to be 14–31 percent among the 1–19-year-olds surveyed, with a higher number of adolescents.
The risk of non-communicable disease was found in school going children, in which 10% children showed symptoms of pre-diabetes and high triglyceride. High cholesterol and bad cholesterol were found in 4 percent of adolescents and high blood pressure in 5 percent of adolescents.