Prelims level : Governance- Rights Issues, Social Issues, Health Mains level : GS-II- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
GS-II- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
GS-II- Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
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  • The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlights the State-wise prevalence of malnutrition in women and children.

Key Highlights of the report:

  • As per the NFHS-4 report
    • 52.1% – children under 5 years age are underweight
    • 49.3% – children under 5 years age are stunted (not attaining age-appropriate height)
    • 31.3% – children under 5 years age are wasted (not attaining age- appropriate weight)
  • More than half (53.9%) of our girls within 15-19 years have low body mass index (BMI);
  • Only one in every five mothers (21%) has full ante-natal care;
  • One in every two pregnant women (50.3%) within the age-group of 15-49 is anaemic.
  • Only one-third (30%) of the mothers consume iron and folic supplement during pregnancy.
  • The overall child mortality rate as per NFHS- 4 is 9.4 which is declined from 18.4 as per previous NFHS- 3.
  • Malnutrition is not a direct cause of death among children under five years of age.
  • However, it can increase morbidity and mortality by reducing resistance to infections.

What is Malnutrition?

  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
  • The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals).
  • The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).

About National Family Health Survey (NFHS):

  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi-round survey conducted in a representative sample of households throughout India.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India, designated IIPS as the nodal agency, responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the NFHS.
  • NFHS was funded by the United States Agency for International
  • Development (USAID) with supplementary support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

About POSHAN Abhiyaan:

  • For monitoring the level of malnutrition among the children (0-6 years of age), POSHAN Abhiyaan has been launched under which near real time monitoring is done through ICDS-CAS Mobile based Software Application.
  • The ICDS-CAS Application enables the identification of malnutrition children based on auto-plotting of Growth Charts.
  • The drill-down dashboard available at National, State, District, Block level contributes towards identifying and addressing the problem of nutrition.
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