Less than 7% of un­der-2 kids in In­dia get ad­e­quate diet: Sur­vey

In a first, Te­jas wa­ter comes in biodegrad­able plas­tic bot­tles

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Front Page - NEWS NET­WORK

The first Com­pre­hen­sive Na­tional Nu­tri­tional Sur­vey of the Union health min­istry has found that only 6.4% of In­dian chil­dren aged less than two years get a “min­i­mum ac­cept­able diet”. This pro­por­tion varies widely across states from barely 1.3% in Andhra Pradesh to 35.9% in Sikkim and it isn’t a case of the ‘usual sus­pects’ be­ing at the bot­tom of the heap.

Sur­vey shows that 35% of chil­dren un­der the age of 5 are stunted

In U-5 age group, 17% are wasted & 33% un­der­weight

In con­trast, about 2% are over­weight or obese

In­deed, at the very tail end of the list, Andhra has Ma­ha­rash­tra (2.2%), Gu­jarat, Te­lan­gana and Kar­nataka (all 3.6%) and Tamil Nadu (4.2%) for com­pany among the states seen as de­vel­oped by most yard­sticks. At the other end of the spec­trum, while Ker­ala in se­cond spot (32.6%) is no sur­prise, states like Odisha, Ch­hat­tis­garh, Jhark­hand and As­sam are above the na­tional av­er­age de­spite be­ing viewed as ‘back­ward’ on most counts.

Min­i­mum ac­cept­able diet for chil­dren aged 6-23 months in­cludes min­i­mum rec­om­mended fre­quency of meals and di­etary di­ver­sity. Fre­quency of meals varies from twice a day to three times for breast­fed ba­bies and about four times a day for non­breast­fed ba­bies. The rec­om­mended di­etary di­ver­sity re­quires a child to be fed from four dif­fer­ent food groups the day be­fore the sur­vey. The seven food groups in­clude 1) grains roots and tu­bers 2) eggs, 3) dairy prod­ucts 4) legumes and nuts 5) vi­ta­min A rich fruits and veg­eta­bles 6) flesh foods such as meat fish etc 7) other fruits and veg­eta­bles.

The sur­vey, re­leased by the Union health min­istry, also shows that 35% of chil­dren un­der the age of 5 are stunted (low height for age). In this age group, 17% are wasted (low weight for height) and 33% un­der­weight (low weight for age). In con­trast, about 2% were over­weight or obese. Among those aged be­tween 6 months and 59 months, 11% were acutely mal­nour­ished.

In the 5-9 year age group, 22% were stunted, 10% un­der­weight and 4% over­weight or obese. The find­ings point to the alarm­ing, though grad­u­ally im­prov­ing, sit­u­a­tion in terms of nu­tri­tion of chil­dren in In­dia, with poverty play­ing the most im­por­tant role and di­etary re­stric­tions also adding to it in some cases.

In the ado­les­cents, 10 to 19 years old, 24% were too thin and 5% were over­weight or obese. The sur­vey also found that 10% of schoolage chil­dren and ado­les­cents in the coun­try were pre-di­a­betic with the pro­por­tion vary­ing widely across states. Luc­know: Te­jas Ex­press, In­dia’s first “pri­vate” train that made its in­au­gu­ral com­mer­cial run on Satur­day, has notched up an­other first by serv­ing pas­sen­gers pack­aged drink­ing wa­ter in biodegrad­able bot­tles.

At least 1,500 such biodegrad­able bot­tles man­u­fac­tured in-house by IRCTC at its Nan­gloi plant are be­ing dis­trib­uted on board the Del­hiLuc­know-Delhi train each day, of­fi­cials said.

The larger plan is to set up plants in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try so that pack­aged drink­ing wa­ter is served or sold only in biodegrad­able plas­tic bot­tles across the rail­way net­work, sources said.

Com­pared to a nor­mal plas­tic bot­tle, the biodegrad­able ver­sion costs around 15 paise ex­tra to make. Af­ter dis­posal, it is es­ti­mated that a biodegrad­able bot­tle will de­com­pose in about 12 months.

Ash­wini Sri­vas­tava, IRCTC’s chief re­gional man­ager in Luc­know, said “tri­als” were con­ducted at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Pack­ag­ing in Mum­bai be­fore the au­thor­i­ties de­cided to use biodegrad­able bot­tles on board the Te­jas Ex­press.

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