Skip to main content

Gujarat's lag in under-five nutrition suggests economic progress alone can't reduce undernutrition: Study

By Rajiv Shah
A high-profile study, “India Health Report: Nutrition 2015”, released last month, has found that “developed” Gujarat lags behind most major Indian states in child nutrition status. Quoting latest Government of India figures, the study says that 33.5 per cent of under-five children are underweight, which is the seventh worst among 20 major Indian states.
The study, which has been carried out by the Public Health Foundation of India, and jointly sponsored by Transform Nutrition and UK Aid, further says that 41.6 per cent under five children in Gujarat suffer from stunting, which is the fifth worst among 20 major states; and 18.7 per cent suffer from wasting gujarat(or low weight for height), which is the third worst among 20 major states.
Basing its analysis on the latest data (for 2014) provided by the Rapid Survey on Children (RSoC), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, the study’s example of Gujarat goes a long way to suggest that, to quote from the report, “economic growth cannot, by itself, reduce undernutrition.”
Pointing towards “massive variables across states”, which mask recent progress in overcoming the problem of undernutrition, the study reports, in India, “38.7 per cent children under five are stunted, 19.8 per cent are wasted, and 42.5 per cent are underweight.”
Giving the example of well-to-do states in this context, the study says, in Punjab, “which best represents the national average per capita income at Rs 49,529 (2013-14), the prevalence of stunting among children under five is 30.5 percent (lower than the national average of 39 percent).” And, interestingly, “although Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have similar levels of income, Tamil Nadu has a much lower stunting rate of 23.3 percent, while it is 41.8 percent in Gujarat.”
“These disparities”, the study says, “indicate that levels of income do not automatically translate to lower stunting, and warrants a closer look at other known developmental drivers of stunting.” It adds, “Most analyses of stunting declines confirm that economic progress alone is not sufficient to achieve significant nutritional gains.”
Thus, “from 1998–99 to 2005–2006, GDP per capita in India expanded by 40 percent in real terms. Despite the rising levels of prosperity and 18 reduced levels of poverty among millions of Indians, the proportion of stunted children under age three declined by only 6.1 percentage points in that seven-year period, from 51 to 44.9 percent.”
Citing a study of 63 countries, including India, the study says, it shows that “increases in per capita national income translated into improvements in child nutritional status only if the economic gains facilitated public and private investments that could improve conditions related to diet and disease.” 
The study says, India’s “child nutrition rates have been declining, first at a slow rate between 1992 and 2006, and at an accelerated rate since 2006.” However, it underlines, “these developments are below the rate needed to meet the World Health Assembly’s targets to which India is signatory to.”
“Between 2006 and 2014, India’s stunting rate of children below five years declined from 48 per cent to 39 per cent. This decline in stunting in India is translated to 14 million fewer children and decline in wasting is translated to seven million fewer wasted children. Despite this, child under-nutrition rates in India are among the highest in the world. India is still home to over 40 million stunted children and 17 million wasted children under five”, the study adds.
---
Click HERE to download the study

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.