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Global Nutrition Report

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Global Nutrition Report

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the report and India’s performance.

For Mains: Why malnutrition is on rise? How it can be addressed?

Context: Global Nutrition Report 2020 has been released.

The Global Nutrition Report was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013 as a mechanism for tracking the commitments made by 100 stakeholders spanning governments, aid donors, civil society, the UN and businesses.

Where India stands?

  • India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. India is also the country with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.
  • India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities.
  • India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available, i.e. stunting among under-5 children, anaemia among women of reproductive age, childhood overweight and exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Underweight in India: Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls. However, this is still high compared to the average of 35.6% for boys and 31.8% for girls in Asia.
  • Stunted and wasted:9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • Anaemia: One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic, while at the same time the rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.

Global Nutrition Targets:

In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified six nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.

These require governments to:

  1. reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5 and prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years.
  2. ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight and no increase in childhood overweight.
  3. increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%.
  4. reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

What causes malnutrition?

The report emphasises on the link between malnutrition and different forms of inequity, such as those based on geographic location, age, gender, ethnicity, education and wealth malnutrition in all its forms.

  • Inequity is a cause of malnutrition — both under-nutrition and overweight, obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.
  • Inequities in food and health systems exacerbate inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Way ahead- need of the hour- suggestions by the report:

  1. Break down silos between malnutrition in all its forms.
  2. Prioritise and invest in the data needed and capacity to use it.
  3. Scale up financing for nutrition – diversify and innovate to build on past progress.
  4. Galvanise action on healthy diets – engage across countries to address this universal problem.
  5. Make and deliver better commitments to end malnutrition in all its forms – an ambitious, transformative approach will be required to meet global nutrition targets.

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Sources: the Hindu.