The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recently released its annual ‘State of the World’s Children’ report for 2019 that mentioned about the condition of children’s health in India and across the world. It is one of the most comprehensive reports of UNICEF on children, food and nutrition in 20 years.
The report suggested that 149 million children under 5 were stunted and almost 50 million were wasted in 2018. In South Asia, 58.7 million children under 5 were stunted and 25.9 million were wasted. UNICEF report said that analysis carried out as part of the Global Burden of Disease study suggests that diets lacking adequate nutrition are now the leading cause of death worldwide.
India Specific Findings
• UNICEF in its report ‘The State of the World’s Children 2019’ said that every second child in this age group is affected by malnutrition in South Asia.
• The report informed that 35 per cent children are suffering from stunting, 17 per cent suffer from wasting and about 33 per cent children are suffering from underweight however only 2 per cent of total children in India are suffering with over-weight.
• Only 42 per cent of the children (in the age group of 6to 23 months) are given food at adequate intervals and 21 per cent of the children get a sufficiently varied diet.
• The report says that only 53 per cent of infants between the age group of 6-8 months begin to be fed on time.
• It has said about the health of Indian women that every second woman is suffering from anaemia.
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• Over 19 million children spread across Bangladesh are at the front line of climate change disasters.
• Bangladesh is a country where 60 per cent of the population counts on agriculture for their livelihood, this means children from the poorest families are most likely to go hungry.
• About 34 crore children under five years are suffering from the deficiency of essential vitamins and other minerals and four crore children are suffering from obesity or overweight in the world.
• According to UNICEF data, about 14.9 crore children under the age of five years are stunted.
• According to UNICEF, many of these children are at risk of underdevelopment of the brain, difficulty in memorizing, weak immunity, infection and diseases.
• Government, NGOs and individuals should empower families and children to demand nutritious food.
• Food suppliers should be encouraged to provide the right thing for children.
• A healthy food environment should be built for all children in countries across the world.
• Mobilize supportive systems to scale up nutrition results for every child
• It is important to collect, examine and spread good-quality data to guide action and track progress.
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