35% of under-five children in India are stunted, says national survey

Unicef India
File Photo: Courtesy Unicef India

NEW DELHI: In India 35 per cent of children under five are stunted, 17 per cent are wasted and 33 per cent are underweight, as per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS). 

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) this week released the results of the nation’s first ever Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS), conducted from 2016-18 in 30 states/Union Territories across the country.

The survey was conducted with the technical support by UNICEF. And through the generous financial support from Aditya and Megha Mittal, the United Kingdom-based philanthropists.

The groundbreaking national study is one of the largest micronutrient surveys ever conducted globally covering anthropometric assessments of 112,000 children from 0-19 years of age, including more than 51,000 biological samples for children’s micronutrient status and risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

According to the CNNS, For the first time, this study provides national-scale evidence and information on a broad set of indicators for all children and adolescents 0-19 years old which can be used to target scaled up nationwide solutions.

The CNNS survey shows that there is some progress in reduction in malnutrition, as well as effective reach of Government programmes to prevent Vitamin A and iodine deficiency in children 1-4 years. At the same time, the survey highlights that overweight and obesity increasingly begin in childhood with a growing threat of non-communicable diseases like diabetes (10 per cent) in school-aged children and adolescents.

The release of the survey has stimulated a national discussion about how to analyse this data to target effective programmes combatting child malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.

Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan commented on the release of the national survey, “The CNNS gives us the first comprehensive national set of data about child and adolescents nutrition, including the 5-14 year age group for the first time. This will help the Government accelerate progress using evidence-based policies and programmes to combat malnutrition and non-communicable diseases like diabetes in children and adolescents.”

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