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National Nutrition Month in India - A solution for undernutrition population

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Introduction: National Nutrition Month to mark fight against malnutrition.

The national nutrition month (Rashtrya Poshan Maah) is being celebrated across the country in September 2018 to mark fight against malnutrition. Union Ministry of Women and Child Development is organizing various programmes during this month to spread broad awareness on issue related to malnutrition like stunting under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight in children.
What is the story of the malnutrition in India?
Despite significant efforts by the government to provide food to children through various initiatives, India is home of 48 million children suffering from stunted growth, which affects their physical development as well as cognitive and emotional development.
Child Stunting

Stunting a major problem of undernutrition where children are short of their age, results from severe and persistent undernutrition. Less nutritious food contributes to undernutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that half of all undernutrition is associated with diarrhea and infections resulting from inadequate access to clean drinking water, better toilets and good hygiene. 
India, the world’s second most populous nation, has the greatest number of children in the world who are stunted. Globally, 159 million children under the age of five are stunted—one in four children of this age.
As per WaterAid’s caught short report – Nigeria and Pakistan rank second and third with 10.3 and 9.8 million children stunted, respectively.
n  Stunting is a lifelong consequence of malnutrition that occurs in the first two years of a child’s life and is largely irreversible after age. It is defined as children have low height for age and indicates that children haven’t developed as they should, physically or cognitively.
n  Currently, 12 percent of the population in India do not have access to clean water and 56 percent do not have a decent toilet.
n  54 percent of international variation in children’s height can be linked open defecation, which spreads deadly diseases and makes children more susceptible to diarrheal illness and infection. Over 60,000 children under five in India die each year.
n  Five or more cases of diarrhea before two years of age can lead to stunting, half of all cases of under nutrition are estimated to be associated with repeated diarrhea, intestinal worms and other infections as a direct result of inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene.

How National Nutrition Month will work?
National Nutrition month will focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to eliminate the deficiencies prevailing in the Health sector. Ministry of Women and Child Development is working on eight focused themes like optimal breast feeding, growth monitoring food fortification and girls’ education, hygiene and sanitation, diet and marriage at right age etc. to achieve improvement in nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers. It is also trying to reach about 11 crore women and children during this month through various grass-roots activities, with the convergence of different ministries.

 The idea of “National Nutrition Month”
The decision to celebrate September as the National Nutrition Month every year was taken during the second meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition challenges under poshan abhiyan (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) held in July 2018. POSHAN abhiyaan- the National Nutrition Mission launched in India in 2018 in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan with aim to bring down stunting of children in age group of 0-6 years from 38%to 25% by 2022.