The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) 2016-18.
- As per CCNS, Indian children are facing the double risk of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.
- Diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases, high cholesterol are rising among the children.
- As per the government, the report is the largest micronutrient survey conducted in the world.
- For the first time in India, gold standard methods were used to assess anemia, micronutrient deficiencies, and prevalence of non-communicable diseases among children.
- The data from the report notes the shifting conditions of undernutrition, overweight, and obesity among children in the age group of 0-19 years.
- Children and adolescents with abdominal obesity increase with the level of schooling of the mother and the wealth of the household.
- The highest percentage of abdominal obesity was measured in children from Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa with 7% each.
- The lowest percentage was observed in Bihar.
- The highest abdominal obesity in adolescents was observed in Delhi at 7% followed by Tamil Nadu at 6%. The lowest was observed in Assam at 0.2%.
- As per the survey, 8% of children in the age group of 5-9 and 6% of adolescents had high subscapular skinfold thickness. This is assessed to evaluate nutritional status.
- The setting where children grow has also an impact. There is a high prevalence among children in urban areas than in rural areas.
- Largest prevalence was is Goa at 21% and Delhi at 15%. Lowest is in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh at 3%.
- Among adolescents lowest prevalence was in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Assam at 2%.
- The survey observed that in urban areas there is poor breast feeding.
- The reasons are long commute of the working mothers, lifestyle, and prosperity.
- In rural areas, children suffer from stunting, wasting and underweight, and low consumption of milk products.
- 83% of children in the age group of 12-15 months in rural areas are breastfed compared to 76% in urban areas.
- This clearly shows that household wealth is inversely promotional to breastfeeding.
- Also, there is a high iron deficiency in urban children than in rural children.
- 40.6% of urban children are iron deficient while it is only 29% among rural children
- Experts say that this is due to better performance of government programs in rural areas.
Vitamin D Deficiency
- The same is the case with Vitamin D deficiency in urban children though there is a higher level of diary consumption in urban areas.
- While the deficiency is 19% in urban areas, it is 12 % in rural areas.
- But, in rural areas, there is high zinc deficiency which causes growth retardation, impaired immune function, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
The double risk among Indian children does not augur well for their future and for the future of the country. Appropriate measures need to be taken now to improve the nutritional status of our children.