Young and wasted
The 2018 Global Nutrition Report points to the link between income and malnutrition but falls short of examining critical factors such as enhanced public spending that determine the levels of hunger and
IN 2017, fewer than one in five children, six to 24 months of age, in the world ate a minimally accepted diet. More than half of them in the same age group did not get the recommended number of meals, and only two-thirds of the infants from six to eight months ate any solid food at all. In short, the burden of malnutrition, globally, was very high. South Asia was home to 38.9 per cent of the world’s stunted children, while India, Nigeria and Pakistan accounted for half of all the stunted children. India was also home to 25.5 million “wasted” (low weight for height) children. India, Nigeria and Indonesia were home to the largest number of children in the “wasted” category. These and other dismal statistics are part of the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, the outcome of a multistakeholder initiative started in 2013.
At the other end of the spectrum, the report says, there was an exponential growth in infant formula sales; globally, it went up from 7.1 kilograms an infant in 2005 to 11 kg an infant in 2017, marking a 54.9 per cent increase. The growth in sales of formula milk food in the follow-up months of infancy, including the toddler stage, was also high and happened despite the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) position that such food was unnecessary and should not supplant breast milk.
The report says that a faulty diet composition was one of the major reasons for the high prevalence of malnutrition and that 37.8 million children affected by stunting were in low-income countries where the daily average income was less than $2.80 per person a day. Another 101.1 million stunted children belonged to countries where incomes were less than $11 per person a day. Rural areas contributed a higher proportion of stunted and wasted children than urban areas.
The discourse on nutrition had picked up since 2014 following the Second International Conference on Nutrition. The following year marked the declaration of the 201625 period as United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition in order to
AT NAGADA VILLAGE in Jajpur district of Odisha. India is home to 25.5 million “wasted” (low weight for height) children in the world.