Nutrients are components of food that helps in proper functioning and health maintainace of an individual. Nutrition is the consequence of a well-balanced diet; it encompasses the processes of ingestion, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion, all of which provide energy to living organisms. It plays an important role to maintain growth, reproduction, overall health and increase immunity to fight against the deadly microorganisms. The condition of imbalance, deficiency or excess of nutrition is known as Malnutrition. Nutritional deficiencies can result in disorders such as blindness, anemia, scurvy, premature delivery, stillbirth, child stunting, wasting and so on; on the other hand, nutrient excess can result in health-threatening conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and so on The content of this blog would brief about Nutritional status of India, Nutrient types, Major health challenges related to malnutrition in India,Schemes and policies to fight against nutritional challenge.
Nutritional status of India
In India, total undernourished population exceeds 14% of the entire population. Among that one in every five children is under weight, one in every three is stunted. Anemia affects more than half of all women of reproductive age. As per Global Nutrition Report 2020, India has 4,66,00,000 children stunted, which places it 3rd in the World. Half of population of children below the age of five years die as result of malnutrition. India ranks 94th out of 107 countries as per Global Hunger Index 2020.According to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, malnutrition is still one of India’s most serious problems.
The nutritional well-being of a population is a reflection of the performance of its social and economic sector and this issue of Malnutrition needs to be taken care properly.
There are seven form of nutrients used by the body namely, carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin, mineral, fiber and water. These seven nutrients should be consumed on a regular basis by everyone to help in the growth, develop & have a healthy body. Despite the fact that each nutrient serves a different purpose in our bodies, they all work together to keep us healthy.
The major health challenges related to malnutrition in India
- Protein energy malnutrition is one of the severe problem in public health.
- Vitamin A insufficiency
- Anemia due to iron deficiency was prevalent among all women in India.
- Iodine Deficiency Disorder:
- Higher rate of adult malnutrition.
- Severe child malnutrition, which affects about every second kid.
- Maternal malnutrition, which results in low birth weights.
- Inappropriate and sub-optimal feeding and caring methods for infants and young children
- Low nutrition understanding and usage of locally nutritious foods, including nutrient sources
- Inadequate attention to adolescent females’ health and nutrition.
- Inappropriate sanitation and access to safe drinking water.
There are multiple programs, policies and schemes currently in place by government as well as non- government organizations to address these issues.
- Total Sanitation Campaign/Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (1999-2000)
- Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for the empowerment of adolescent girls (2002-2003)
- National Rural Health Mission (2005-2006)
- Rajiv Gandhi National Cheche Scheme (2006-2007)
- Midday Meals (2008-09)
- Integrated Child Development Service Scheme (2008-2009)
- National Rural Drinking Water (2009-2010)
- Pradhan Mantri Maatri Vandana Yojana (2017-2018)
All of these plans are having the ability to alleviate one or more nutritional issues, either directly or indirectly.
Though India have come a long way from what it has started several years back, the battle for Nutrition is still not won, It is needed to make huge strides in form of policies, schemes, welfare works, awareness etc., to make sure our country wins this war for nutrition and this looming problem is handled once and for all.
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