Less than 7% of under-2 kids in India get adequate diet: Survey
In a first, Tejas water comes in biodegradable plastic bottles
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.