Under nutrition in children continues to be a major public health problem

The National Nutrition Week will be observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of the National Nutrition Week for 2018 is ‘Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health’

Mumbai: 50 per cent children are malnourished in Govandi, reveals survey
Image for representational purposes only

The basic objective of this annual event is to intensify awareness generation on the importance of nutrition for health which has an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately national development.

Nutrition is an issue of survival, health and development for current and succeeding generations. Children who are born with a low birth weight (low weight) have impaired immune function and increased risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases in their later life.

Malnourished children tend to have lower IQ and impaired cognitive ability, thus affecting their school performance and then productivity in their later life. It has to be realised that the nutritional health and all age groups represent say National Economic Asset.

As, improving the nutritional status of the population is imperative for national development. Under nutrition in young children continues to be a major public health problem in India.

The NFHS4 has not shown an encouraging improvement in the nutritional status, especially among women and children. As per NFHS-4 the level of underweight has decreased by 6.8% and is stunting by 9.6%. Level of anaemia has decreased by 11% as compared to NNHS-3 figures.

Malnutrition is not to be viewed merely as an offshoot of poverty having adverse effects on health and development of individuals but as a national problem that results in loss of productivity and economic backwardness.

The time has come to create a moment so as to improve nutrition at the individual level. Thus, series of convergent and well-coordinated actions in different sectors are required to be undertaken in the mission mode approach to address this big network problem of malnutrition.

Neeta Sonkumwar, a dietician at Aundh Civil Hospital, said, “Even in urban areas we are getting cases where we are counselling people as they are neglecting their nutritional requirements. Neglect and lack of awareness on nutrition is adding aburden on India’s healthcare industry and indirectly on India’s economy. What is needed is to increase awareness on nutritional requirements for good health.”