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More underweight, stunted children in Ahmedabad, Surat than other top Indian cities: Industry-sponsored study

By Rajiv Shah
A top Indian industrial house-sponsored study has found that, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “model” city Ahmedabad, 19.4% children aged 0-59 months are stunted, which is the highest among the 10 cities studied – Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, Pune and Jaipur.
Called “Urban HUNGaMA (hunger and malnutrition) Survey”, the study was recently released by Naandi Foundation, a Hyderabad-based non-profit.
Meaning “prevented from growing or developing properly”, Chennai fared the best of all the 10 cities, with 10% stunted children. Next to Ahmedabad is Delhi with 18.9% stunted children, followed by yet another Gujarat’s “model” city, Surat, with 16.9%, Hyderabad 15.7%, Mumbai 14.2%, Jaipur 13.7%, Kolkata 13.3%, Bangalore 12.8%, and Pune 12.3%.
Conducted to assess the nutrition status of children, the survey, sponsored by industrial house Mahindra & Mahindra and Swiss non-profit foundation Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), was carried out by interviewing 12,286 mothers, even as measuring height and weight of 14,616 children aged 0-59 months.
Those who helped analyze the survey included well-known urban expert Dr Isher Ahluwalia, Dr Victor Aguayo, Dr Sulabha Parasuraman, Pranav Chaudhuri and Nevin John.
Things were not found to be very different for those who were“severely stunted” in age group 0-59 months: While it was 10.1% in Ahmedabad, next only to Delhi (11.7%), Surat was not far behind with 9.5% severely stunted children. Chennai fared the best with severely stunted percentage of 4.8.
Taking the two categories, stunted and severely stunted children, together, While Delhi performed the worst with 30.6%, Ahmedabad’s closely followed with 29.5% performed. The 10 cities' average came to 22.3%.
Coming to the data on “underweight” children, the study says, it “ranged from 10.8% in Chennai to 19.3% in Surat”. As for Ahmedabad, it wasn’t found to be far very, with 19% underweight children, following Hyderabad (19.2%). Surat’s and Ahmedabad’s 6.4% and 6.3% children were found to “severely underweight”, following Delhi 6.7% and Hyderabad 6.6%, it adds.
Here again, taking the two categories, underweight and severely underweight children, simultaneously, Hyderabad topped with 25.8%, closed by followed by Gujarat’s “model” cities – Surat 25.7% and Ahmedabad 25.3%.
As for other parameters assessed to measure undernourished children, the study says, “The prevalence of wasting ranged from 8.0% in Jaipur to 15.1% in Mumbai, and severe wasting ranged from 2.4% in Ahmedabad to 4.0% in Pune”, adding, “The prevalence of overweight ranged from 0.7% in Hyderabad to 3.7% in Chennai and severe overweight or obese ranged from 0.5% in Jaipur and Mumbai to 1.8% in Chennai.”
The study further finds that “malnutrition was significantly more prevalent among children whose mothers had little or no schooling. For example, the prevalence of stunting among children whose mothers had five or less years of schooling ranged from 21.4% in Chennai to 51.0% in Ahmedabad.”
It added, “The prevalence of underweight among children whose mothers had five or less years of schooling ranged from 25.5% in Bengaluru to 42.7% in Ahmedabad.”
The study further found that “the prevalence of stunting among children from households in the lowest wealth quintile ranged from 20.8% in Chennai to 47.4% in Ahmedabad.” By contrast, it says, “The prevalence of stunting among children from households in the highest wealth quintile ranged from 6.3% in Kolkata to 24.4% in Delhi.”

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