#WorldFoodDay: India ranks 102 in Global Hunger Index, classified as country with ‘serious’ levels of hunger

India has slipped from 95th rank in 2010 to 102nd in 2019 on the Global Hunger Index (GHI), it has slipped down to seven ranks from 2010, with the increase in prevalence of wasting (low weight for height) among children under five contributing the most to the country’s poor performance

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The Global Hunger Index or GHI scores countries on a 100-point ‘severity scale,’ where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. India scored 102 out of 117 countries.

India was the lowest-ranked among South Asian countries and way behind the other BRICS nations. Even Pakistan, which used to be the only country in South Asia to rank below India, pulled ahead in the 2019 ranking to 94th place.

While India is tagged as a country with ‘serious’ levels of hunger, climate change will further worsen its undernutrition levels, the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2019, a report jointly published by Concern Worldwide, an Irish aid agency, and Welthungerlife, a German NGO has highlighted.

The share of wasting among children in India rose from 16.5 per cent in the 2008-2012 period to 20.8 per cent in 2014-2018, according to the report.

“Because of its large population, India’s Global Hunger Index indicator values have an outsized impact on the indicator values for the region… India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent – the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available,” the GHI report says

  • Because of its large population, India’s GHI indicator values have an outsized impact on the indicator values for the region.
  • India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available.
  • Its child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance (de Onis et al. 2019).
  • In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.
  • As of 2015–2016, 90 percent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 percent of households had no sanitation facilities (IIPS and ICF 2017)
  • In 2014 the prime minister instituted the “Clean India” campaign to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines. Even with new latrine construction, however, open defecation is still practiced.
  • This situation jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised.

Source: Global Hunger Index.org

The GHI calculates the levels of hunger and undernutrition worldwide. The four indicators for the index are undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting (weight for age) and child mortality.

Neighbouring countries like Nepal (73rd), Sri Lanka (66th), Bangladesh (88th), Myanmar (69th) and Pakistan (94th), although all in the ‘serious’ hunger category are better at feeding its citizens than India, according to this index. China (25th) has moved to a ‘low’ severity category and Sri Lanka is in the ‘moderate’ severity.

The report also took note of open defecation in India as an impacting factor for health. It pointed out that as of 2015–2016, 90% of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39% of households had no sanitation facilities.