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At 55%, "developed" Gujarat has more anemic women than national average; situation worse among children

By Rajiv Shah
A new Government of India interactive atlas has revealed that Gujarat’s 54.9% of women in the age group 14-49 are anemic as against the national average of 53%. Out of 21 major Indian states, the data show, 14 states have a lower percentage of anemic women than that of Gujarat.
The seven states where the percentage of women is more anemic than Gujarat are: Jharkhand 65.2%, West Bengal 63.2%, Haryana 62.7%, Bihar 60.3%, Andhra Pradesh 60%, Telangana 56.7%, and Tamil Nadu 55.1%. All data are for 2015-16.
Things are no better with pregnant women. The atlas shows that Gujarat’s 51.3% pregnant women are anemic, as against the national average of 50.3 per cent, with as many as 15 major states out of 21 having lesser percentage of anemic pregnant women.
The six states with a higher percentage of anemic pregnant women are – Jharkhand 62.6%, followed by Bihar 58.3%, Haryana 55%, West Bengal 53.6%, and Andhra Pradesh 52.9%.
The atlas reveals a major gender gap, too, with just about 21.7% of men found to be anemic. This is against the national average of 22.7%.
It also shows rural-urban divide, with 57.7% rural women as against 51.6% urban women anemic in Gujarat. Things are no different for men: Here, 25% rural men and 17.8% urban men are found to be anemic.
The further atlas finds the least percentage of anemic women is in Kerala, 34.2%. Interestingly, Kerala has a still lower percentage of anemic pregnant women, 22.6%, lower than any other major state of India. 
A higher percentage of anemic pregnant women would have its consequences on infants. The atlas shows that 62.6% of children in the age group 6 to 59 months are anemic in Gujarat, which is worse than all major 21 states but five – Haryana 71.1%, Jharkhand 69.9%, Madhya Pradesh 68.9%, Bihar 63.5%, and Uttar Pradesh 63.3%.
Based on official data, the atlas has been developed by the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). It is claimed to be India’s first online nutrition atlas. NIN operates under the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Among the sources it has banked upon are data from the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, the National Family Health Survey, the World Health Organisation and other public databases. It provides not just state-wise but also district-wise data.
Notably, the all-tribal district of Dangs in Gujarat has the highest percentage of anemic women, 72.3%, while Surat, perhaps the most urban district of Gujarat, has the least percentage of anemic women, 39%.
Interestingly, however, the all-tribal district of Dahod has 56.3% of anemic women, considerably lower Gandhinagar district (which as the state capital) 65.8%, and Ahmedabad district, the state’s commercial capital, 62.9%.
As for children in the age group 6 to 59 months, while the highest percentage of anemic children are found to be in Kutch district (81.4%), the state capital Gandhinagar with 73.7% and the commercial capital Ahmedabad with 76% are found to be not far behind.
Calling nutrition as “one of the key determinants of development”, the introduction says, the idea of the online atlas is to help India’s policy makers, programme managers, researchers and other stakeholders, who “need” information/data on nutritional status of population groups at country level and at regional/state levels.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
V informative piece from a journaist of high credibility.
alka singh said…
It is very sad about our country. It is not about poverty but women carelessness and ignorance about themselves.from many well to do families also rather than having balanced and nutritious food junk food is a main part of their diet.awareness programme should be run at a large scale for the families.

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