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

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”

Human rights 'abuses': Funding to India should be vetted, Greens tell Australian govt

Counterview Desk
A roundtable organised by Australian Greens, which is the third biggest political group in the country, held to discuss human rights situation in India at the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney has insisted that parliamentarians, human rights activists and lawyers should play a more active role “standing up for human rights not just in their own places but also in India.”