Malnutrition- ' Eating Generations' - Seeker's Thoughts

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Friday, 21 September 2018

Malnutrition- ' Eating Generations'

Malnutrition – in all its forms, such as wasting, stunting, obesity and lack of adequate vitamin and minerals. It is the world’s biggest health problem. Around 2 billion people suffer from some form of malnutrition. While it impacts on the people of all ages, malnutrition has particularly devastating effects on children, who can suffer permanent cognitive and physical harm. 

Around 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are linked to undernutrition. These mostly occur in low and middle- income countries. At the same time, in these same countries, rates of childhood overweight and obesity are rising.
The global burden of malnutrition are serious and lasting, for individuals and their families, for communities and for countries. It rises economic, social and medical burden too. 
What exactly the malnutrition is?
Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and nutrients. The malnutrition addresses 2 broad groups of conditions:
-         Undernutrition, which includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age)
-         Micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess.
-         Overweight, obesity and diet related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease. Stroke, diabetes and some concerns)

Micronutrient – related malnutrition
Lack in intake of vitamin and minerals, often referred to as micronutrients, can also be grouped together. Micronutrients enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances that are essential for proper growth and development.
Iodine, vitamin A, and iron are the most important in global health terms; their deficiency represents a major threat to the health and development of populations worldwide, particularly children and pregnant women in low-income countries.
Diet -related non-communicable diseases
Diet- related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke, and often linked with high blood pressure), certain cancers, and diabetes. Unhealthy diets and poor nutrition are among the top risk factors for these diseases globally.
WHO's stand against malnutrition
WHO aim for a world free of all forms of malnutrition, where people achieve health and wellbeing. According to the 2016-2025 nutrition strategy, WHO works with member states and partners towards universal access to effective nutrition interventions and to healthy diets from sustainable and resilient food system. 
WHO uses its power to help set, align and advocate for priorities and adapting policies that move nutrition fulfilment globally. It also develops evidence-informed guidance based on scientific and ethical framework.
India’s action to fight with malnutrition
Indian government launched National Nutrition Strategy aimed at Kuposhan Mukt Bharat. It intends at bringing nutrition to center-stage of national development agenda.
In India, 20% of children under five years of age suffer from wasting due to acute under- nutrition. The NFHS-4 result shows decline overall levels of under nutrition in women, children and adults. Currently, there is lack of real time measurement of nutritional determinants, which reduces capacity for targeted action among most vulnerable mothers and children. There is not coverage in tribal areas where people don’t get adequate amount of food.
Indian government rolled-out action plan for “September Maah”, to focus on poshan, mobilizing different sectors, developing and standardizing advocacy materials, targeting the service providers, roping in those agencies which have been working in the issue for decades------ be it UNICEF, Tata Trust or others. The idea is to create a “buzz” around poshan.
Target – government has set yearly targets for itself, like a 2 percent reduction in stunting and underweight children, or a 3% reduction in anemia ( 7 out of 10 children in India are anemic – anemic is a condition in which blood doesn’t’ have enough healthy red blood cells.), it will need to track progress closely, and consider a yearly survey instead of the six -yearly National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
What is the reason behind high rate of malnutrition in India?
There is another reason why the problem has persisted. Child nutrition does not disturb as it should it has been the most ignorant problem in India. Over 115 million children in India ------ almost double the population of UK, or FRANCE, or ITALY— huge numbers of populations are not aware about malnutrition. They are less concerned about the children health. They don’t even address that their children are weak and if he or she is weak . Lack of education is also one of the major reasons behind this problem. There is no awareness campaigns to aware people especially in rural areas. Somewhere administration is also least bother about this issue.

A way ahead
Government started addressing malnutrition problem in India. However, there is still need to act on large scale where every malnutrition person gets proper treatment. In rural and tribal areas, there are large population of children who are still lagged to get benefit from government’s kuposhan mukt abhiyan. Accurate data is needed from every villages and cities of the country. Proper inspection work should be done. Administrative work will play important key role for this mission.  Every Child is the future of the country they deserve healthy life and adequate nutrients.
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