Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : International Policies & Schemes Mains Syllabus : GS-II Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in News?

  • According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020 which was released recently, India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss Global Nutrition Targets by 2025.

About the Report:

  • This report has been produced by the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, supported by the Global Nutrition Report Stakeholder Group.
  • The Global Nutrition Report was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013. The first report was published in 2014.
  • The Global Nutrition Report acts as a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it.
  • It assesses progress in meeting Global Nutrition Targets established by the World Health Assembly.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is a Global Nutrition Report Partner.

What was the Target?

  • In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.
  • These require governments to reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5 and prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years, ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight and no increase in childhood overweight, increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50% and reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India will miss targets, for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available, i.e. stunting among under-5 children, anaemia among women of reproductive age, childhood overweight and exclusive breastfeeding.
  • The Report has identified the country as one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.
  • Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls. However, this is still high compared to the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
  • In addition, 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic, while at the same time the rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.

Addressing Inequity and Malnutrition:

  • The report emphasises on the link between malnutrition and different forms of inequity, such as those based on geographic location, age, gender, ethnicity, education and wealth malnutrition in all its forms.
  • “Inequity is a cause of malnutrition — both under-nutrition and overweight, obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.
  • Inequities in food and health systems exacerbate inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.
  • It is often Split into two Broad Groups of Conditions:
    • Under nutrition, including 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).
    • Overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, etc.).
  • In April 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025.
  • The Sustainable Development Goal (SD Goal 2: Zero hunger) aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.
  • This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices: supporting small scale farmers and allowing equal access to land, technology and markets.

What are the Concerns?

  • India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities.
  • Stunting level in Uttar Pradesh is over 40% and their rate among individuals in the lowest income group is more than double those in the highest income group at 22.0% and 50.7%, respectively.
  • In addition, stunting prevalence is 10.1% higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.
  • The same applies for overweight and obesity, where there are nearly double as many obese adult females than there are males (5.1% compared to 2.7%).

Way Forward:

  • The Global Nutrition Report 2020 finds again that the problem of malnutrition remains severe across all regions and none of the countries are on course to meet all nine global nutrition targets.
  • Malnutrition is responsible for more ill-health than any other cause. The health consequences of being overweight and obese contribute to an estimated four million deaths globally.
  • It clearly projects that strong commitments should be designed for impact which can be continuously monitored and deliver to end malnutrition in all its forms.
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