Data | Progress on child nutrition derailed as wasting and stunting increases in several States

In Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the share of anaemic and wasted children was significantly higher than the levels recorded 15 years before

December 17, 2020 05:35 pm | Updated 05:36 pm IST

Overcoming malnutrition: An ASHA worker administers Albendazole tablets to children as part of the National Deworming Programme in Hyderabad on Monday.

Overcoming malnutrition: An ASHA worker administers Albendazole tablets to children as part of the National Deworming Programme in Hyderabad on Monday.

Four key metrics which represent the nutritional status of children recorded a significant fall in 2019-20 compared to the levels in 2015-16 in many major States, reversing the considerable progress achieved in earlier periods. More worryingly, in some States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the % of anaemic and wasted children was significantly higher than the levels recorded in 2005-06. Even in States such as Kerala , which continues to lead the nation in such indicators, the levels recorded in 2019-20 were marginally poorer than the 2015-16 figures.

How to read the charts

The charts plot the % of anaemic, stunted (low height for age), wasted (low weight for height) and underweight (low weight for age) children across 10 States in three time periods: 2019-20 (red cross) , 2015-16 (blue circle) and 2005-06 (grey plus symbol). The higher the % of children in an indicator, the worse the performance of the State. The data are sourced from the three editions of the National Family Health Survey published by the Indian government. In the latest edition of the survey, limited data for 22 States and U.T.s were disseminated, of which the data of 10 major States were analysed.

Anaemia among children

In all the 10 States, a higher % of children were anaemic in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16 . In States such as Gujarat, Himachal, Maharashtra and W.B., a higher % of children were anaemic in 2019-20 compared to 2005-06 .

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Wasted (low weight for height)

In 5 of the 10 States analysed, a higher % of children were wasted in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16 . In Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and W.B., a higher % of children were wasted in 2019-20 compared to 2005-06 .

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Also read: Discouraging numbers: On National Family Health Survey 2019-20

Underweight (low weight for age)

In 7 of the 10 States analysed, a higher % of children were underweight in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16 .

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Stunted (low height for age)

In 6 of the 10 States analysed, a higher % of children were stunted in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16 . Though Karnataka, Assam and Andhra Pradesh did improve, the change was marginal.

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Source: National Family Health Survey (2015-16)

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