New global report ranks India poorly in reduction of anaemia, malnutrition, diabetes

Yet another global report pointed out India’s worrying performance on various health indicators. India has had consistent poor rankings for stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, anaemia in women and diabetes in adult. The Global Nutrition Report 2016, ranked India 114 for under-5 stunting out of 132 countries, 120 for under-5 wasting (acute malnutrition) out of 130 countries, 170 for anaemia out of 185 countries and 104 for adult diabetes out of 190 countries.

Put together by 25 to 30 authors, the report took a comprehensive look at nutrition globally and analysed the targets set, commitments made by countries at the World Health Assembly, 2015.

Nutrition is central to 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, such as gender equality, health lives, hunger and nutrition, poverty. India, though having made substantial progress in bettering nutrition, remains off course on meeting reduction targets for stunting, anaemia, adult overweight, obesity and diabetes.

There is an urgent need to “ratchet up the speed” if India is to meet any of its global targets, said Baijayant Panda, Lok Sabha MP and member of the Citizens’ Alliance against Malnutrition, who was on the panel that launched the report. Problems also stem from poor data collections, pointed out Purnima Menon, one of the report’s authors and research fellow with International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Nutrition data in the country is not sufficient to maximise investments or even figure out trends, said Menon.

However, investments need to be upped, as India is short of $700 million in its expenditure on nutrition.

India has been food secure, has a good track record of poverty alleviation, yet remained an enigma, said Prema Ramachandran, director, Nutrition Foundation of India. Though poverty and nutrition have strong correlations, India sees families removed from poverty for generations, have malnutrition among children, pointing to bad young child and infant feeding practices. Thus, though India is a “leading star” in implementing good breastfeeding practices, as the experts who launched the report said, poor complementary feeding practices end up doing harm.

India is still lucky in not having a double burden, that of large-scale numbers of adult obesity and overweight. Though it’s off-course in tackling the existing numbers, in terms of prevalence, it is still ranks 18th out of 190 countries in obesity indicators. However, reports are emerging of obesity numbers picking up in the country, said experts.

Source: Daily News & Analysis

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