A first-ever federal CNNS issued by the Union Health Ministry has reported that about 35 percent of kids in the nation under five ages are stunted, 17 percent misused and 33 percent are puny.
The survey was conducted from 2016-18 in 30 states and Union Territories with technical support from UNICEF.
A UNICEF press release said it was one of the largest micronutrient surveys conducted globally covering anthropometric assessments of 1,12,000 children from 0-19 years of age, including more than 51,000 biological samples for children’s micronutrient status and risk factors for non-communicable diseases.
“In India, 35 percent of children under five are stunted, 17 percent are wasted and 33 percent are underweight,” the release said.
The CNN survey shows there is some progress in a reduction in malnutrition, as well as an effective reach of government programs to prevent Vitamin A and iodine deficiency in children in the age group of 1-4 years.
It says that overweight and obesity increasingly begin in childhood with a growing threat of non-communicable diseases like diabetes in school-aged children and adolescents.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the CNNS gives the first comprehensive national set of data about child and adolescents nutrition, including the 5-14 year age group.
“This will help the government accelerate progress using evidence-based policies and programs to combat malnutrition and non-communicable diseases like diabetes in children and adolescents,” he said. The release citing the survey said that school-age children and adolescents were still at risk of malnutrition even as initiatives such as Poshan Abhiyaan 2018-22 have been launched.
“One in 4 adolescents aged 10-19 years remain thin for their age. Five percent of adolescents aged 10-19 years old were overweight or obese,” the release said.
It said another major concern for India was the high number of anemic children, adolescents, and women in the country.
The survey says that anemia affects youngest children and female adolescents the most:
“Anaemia was significantly higher in children aged 1-4 years (41 percent) compared to other age groups. Anemia prevalence in female adolescents aged 10-19 (40 percent) years was two times higher than male adolescents (18 percent),” the release said.
It said that overall, 41 percent of children in 1-4 years, 24 percent of those 5-9 years and 29 percent of adolescents 10-19 years were anemic.
The release said that a growing threat of non-communicable diseases was found in school-age children with 10 percent pre-diabetic and high triglycerides.
“Four percent of adolescents had high total cholesterol and high low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Hypertension (high blood pressure) was found in 5 percent of adolescents,” it said.