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State of the World’s Children report

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to health.


State of the World’s Children report


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the report.

For Mains: Concerns and challenges raised, ways to address them.


Context: UNICEF released its State of the World’s Children report for 2019. 

Ranking of countries: The report has ranked countries in the order of ‘highest burden of death among children of under-5’ to the ‘lowest burden of death among children of under-5’. 

The report analyses the global state of children’s health vis-a-vis malnutrition, obesity, anaemia and other health issues.


Key findings:

Global scenario:

  • One in three children under the age of five years — around 200 million children worldwide — are either undernourished or overweight.
  • This puts them at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections and, in many cases, death.
  • It describes a triple burden of malnutrition: Undernutrition, hidden hunger caused by a lack of essential nutrients, and overweight among children under the age of five.


India specific:

  1. In India, every second child is affected by some form of malnutrition.
  2. 35% of Indian children suffer from stunting due to lack of nutrition, 17% suffer from wasting, 33% are underweight and 2% are overweight. 
  3. Among countries in South Asia, India fares the worst (54%) on prevalence of children under five who are either stunted, wasted or overweight. 
  4. It has the highest burden of deaths among children under five per year, with over 8 lakh deaths in 2018.
  5. One in five children under age 5 has vitamin A deficiency, which is a severe health problem in 20 states.
  6. Every second woman in the country is anaemic, as are 40.5% children.
  7. One in ten children are pre-diabetic.
  8. Poverty, urbanisation as well as climate change are some of the factors that are driving poor diet.


Efforts by government recognised:

  1. The report said POSHAN Abhiyaan or the National Nutrition Mission is playing a major role in improving nutrition indicators across India.
  2. The Anaemia Mukt Bharat programme to fight anaemic prevalence has been recognized as one of the best programmes implemented by governments across the world to address malnutrition.
  3. The 6X6X6 strategy (six target beneficiary groups, six interventions and six institutional mechanisms) of the programme has been highlighted for using anaemia testing and treatment as the entry point to provide information on healthy diets.


India’s neighbours:

Afghanistan and Bangladesh have 49% and 46% children under five who are either stunted, wasted or overweight. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are the better performing countries in the region, at 28% and 32%, respectively.


UNICEF has laid out recommendations for nutritious, safe and affordable diets for children across the world: 

  1. Empower families to reduce demand for unhealthy food. 
  2. Incentivize food suppliers to provide healthy, affordable food. 
  3. Create accurate, easy-to-understand labelling.  
  4. Scale up nutrition by protecting water and sanitation systems. 
  5. Collect and analyzing quality date to track progress. 


Sources: the Hindu.