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Acute Malnutrition in India

As per the report of Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) conducted by UNICEF during 2016-18, prevalence of severe acute malnutrition among children is 4.9%, which indicates further reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4 as 7.4%.

As per the report of NFHS-4 conducted in 2015-16, 38.4% children under 5 years of age are stunted indicating a reduction and information from the previous NFHS – 3 conducted in 2005-06, which reported 48% children under 5 years of age as stunted and hence there is an improvement from the previous status.

As per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) conducted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the rate of stunting among children has further reduced to 34.7%.

Malnutrition is a multi- faceted problem. The important determinants are inadequate food, level of poverty leading to low purchasing power, poor socio- economic status of women, female illiteracy, high rate of population growth and low access of population to health education, safe drinking water, environmental, sanitation, hygiene and other social services.

Key reasons for malnutrition setting in early life are early marriage, faulty and sub-optimal infant and young child feeding practices, childhood illnesses and low birth weight. The nutritional status of the population is outcome of complex and inter-related set of factors and cannot be improved by the efforts of single sector alone. Therefore, it needs a multi-pronged approach.

The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs to address various aspects related to nutrition.

This Ministry is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition in the country.

Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition are treated at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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