Friday December 14, 2018

Survey: Improvement in child malnutrition in India

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The latest data regarding the status of nutrition in India’s nine poorest states reveals that most states have been successful in reducing the number of underweight children over the last decade. On the other hand, the scenario regarding child stunting has given mixed results. On one hand, Bihar and Uttarakhand have improved on all aspects, Uttar Pradesh has degraded on all of them.

children-malnutrition-ARTICLEThe Office of the Registrar General of India released the results of the Clinical, Anthropometric and Biochemical (CAB) survey, which was conducted in 2014, this week. This survey was conducted as a part of the Annual Health Survey, which collects health information from a representative sample of every district in Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand–India’s eight Empowered Action Group (EAG) states– and Assam. In an exclusive survey, the CAB collected district-level data on key anthropometric indicators like child stunting, child wasting and children underweight.

This data was last collected in 2005-06 in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) III. While NFHS III and CAB were conducted on different samples, the results are to be representative at the state level. An analogy between the NFHS and CAB reveals that eight of the nine states were successful to quite an extent in reducing the proportion of underweight children; Uttar Pradesh was the odd one out, where the proportion actually rose slightly over the last decade.

These revelations come in the backdrop of the NDA government’s turnabout over the release of the Rapid Survey of Children (RSOC), a nationwide sample survey instructed by the previous government and supervised by UNICEF. The RSOC revealed positive results in all child health indicators, but the results were initially kept secret by the new government and was later made public after media reported of leaked findings.

The RSOC’s findings on other child anthropometric indicators like child wasting and child stunting are comparatively more positive than the results gained from CAB. The RSOC showed improvements in all CAG states on child stunting, the CAB showed positive results in only five states– Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Odisha and Uttarakhand. Only four states– Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand– showed positive results on the parameters of child wasting. Results of CAB confirm the findings of the RSOC, that girls were more likely to be underweight than boys in 2005-06 but 2014 results are vice-versa, where boys are slightly more likely to be underweight than girls.

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Millions Of Urban Children in Worse Condition Than Rural People: UNICEF

ICLEI, a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions, said disasters were more likely to impact the most vulnerable in cities, including children.

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Urban CHildren
A girl sells candies along a street in the Miraflores district in Lima. VOA

Millions of poor urban children are more likely to die before their fifth birthday than those living in rural areas, according to a U.N. study released Tuesday that challenges popular assumptions behind the global urbanization trend.

The UNICEF research found not all children in cities benefited from the so-called urban advantage — the idea that higher incomes, better infrastructure and proximity to services make for better lives.

“For rural parents, at face-value, the reasons to migrate to cities seem obvious: better access to jobs, health care and education opportunities for their children,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy.

urban children
Children play in a pool that has no system to replace the water in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 13, 2015. Brazil is among the world’s largest economies, but lags in access to water and sanitation. Rapid urban growth in recent decades, poor planning, political infighting and economic instability are largely to blame, experts say. VOA

“But not all urban children are benefiting equally; we find evidence of millions of children in urban areas who fare worse than their rural peers.”

Although most urban children benefit from living in cities, the study identified 4.3 million globally who were more likely to die before age five than their rural counterparts, and said 13.4 million were less likely to complete primary school.

“Children should be a focus of urban planning, yet in many cities they are forgotten, with millions of children cut off from social services in urban slums and informal settlements,” said Chandy in a statement.

Urban Children
A mother seeking entry into the United States with her children in McAllen, Texas. VOA

About 1 billion people are estimated to live in slums globally, hundreds of millions of them children, according to the U.N. children’s agency.

A decade ago, the world officially became majority urban, and two-thirds of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.

“We applaud UNICEF for putting numbers around a problem that will only get more serious as more and more families move to cities,” said Patrin Watanatada of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, which works to promote early childhood development. “Cities can be wonderful places to grow up, rich with opportunities — but they can also pose serious challenges for a child’s healthy development.”

 Urban children
New campaign to limit children’s calories to 200 per day. wikimedia commons

Poor transport links, limited access to health clinics and parks, as well as growing air pollution and stressed caregivers can exacerbate city living for children, said Watanatada.

Improved walking and cycling infrastructure, affordable housing and transportation, and polices targeted at supporting children and those who care for them could help ease life for urban families.

Also Read: Ebola Increases The Number Of Orphans in DRC: UNICEF

ICLEI, a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions, said disasters were more likely to impact the most vulnerable in cities, including children.

“Children are disproportionately affected by gaps in urban services, especially when it comes to water, sanitation, air quality, and food security,” said Yunus Arikan, head of global policy and advocacy at ICLEI. (VOA)