How much has India been able to reduce stunting among children? A report by Food and Nutrition Security Analysis reveals alarming numbers. Almost one out of three children under five years in India will be stunted by 2022 going by the current trends, says the report, which was released on Tuesday. It highlights that child stunting has only reduced by 1 % in the country over the last decade, and by this rate 31.4% children will be stunted by 2022. The report has been prepared by the UN World Food Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
According to WHO, stunting is impairment in growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psycho-social stimulation.
In India, the prevalence of stunting is more than 30% in all states, except Kerala and Goa (20% each). Bihar tops the states with the highest rate of child stunting (48%), followed by Uttar Pradesh (46%), says the report. The report further points out that there has been a 33 % increase in food grains yield in the last two decades. However, food availability for consumers remains the same due to population growth, inequality, food wastage and losses and exports, the report says.
Among the communities, malnutrition is relatively more prevalent among Scheduled Tribes (43.6%), followed by Scheduled Castes (42.5 %) and Other Backwards Castes (38.6 %), the study reveals. India has the slowest decline in child stunting among the emerging economies. The report says that the country must double its progress to reach the target of 25% by the 2022 deadline.