UNICEF released its State of the World’s Children report for 2019. The first UNICEF report in 20 years on child nutrition, it comes on the heels of the Global Hunger Index report released by the German organisation Welthungerhilfe.
Findings of UNICEF report
- The UNICEF report found that one in three children under the age of five years — around 200 million children worldwide — are either undernourished or overweight. And in India, every second child is affected by some form of malnutrition.
- The report said 35% of Indian children suffer from stunting due to lack of nutrition, 17% suffer from wasting, 33% are underweight and 2% are overweight.
- Among countries in South Asia, India fares the worst (54%) on prevalence of children under five who are either stunted, wasted or overweight. Afghanistan and Bangladesh follow at 49% and 46%, respectively. Sri Lanka and the Maldives are the better performing countries in the region, at 28% and 32%, respectively
Source: State of the World’s Children 2019, UNICEF
- India also has the highest burden of deaths among children under five per year, with over 8 lakh deaths in 2018. It is followed by Nigeria, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, at 8.6 lakh, 4.09 lakh and 2.96 lakh deaths per year, respectively.
- The report said “an alarmingly high number of children” are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a “food system that is failing them”. “Almost two in three children between six months and two years are not fed food that supports their rapidly growing bodies and brains. This puts them at risk of poor brain development, weal learning, low immunity, increased infections and in many cases, death,’’ it said.
- Only 61% Indian children, adoloscents and mothers consume dairy products at least once a week, and only 40% of them consume fruit once a week.
- One in five children under age 5 has vitamin A deficiency, which is a severe health problem in 20 states.
- Every second woman in the country is anaemic, as are 40.5% children. One in ten children are pre-diabetic. Indian children are being diagnosed with adult diseases such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.
Highest burden of death among children under age 5, 2018
Source: The Indian Express
Relevant for: GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; IOBR