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Malnutrition

More Than 5.70 Lakh Children In Gujarat Malnourished: Centre

In Gujarat, out of 5.70 lakh malnourished children in the state, nearly 4.38 lakh children are underweight, while 1.31 lakh fell in the ‘severely underweight’ category

More Than 5.70 Lakh Children In Gujarat Malnourished: Centre
In one year, as many as 9,634 malnourished children were added in Kheda district, which was the highest in Gujarat

Gandhinagar: More than 5.70 lakh children in Gujarat are malnourished, the Gujarat assembly was informed on Wednesday with the government listing various steps being taken to improve the situation. Responding to a set of questions raised by Congress MLAs during Question Hour, Women and Child Development Minister Bhanuben Babariya informed that out of 5.70 lakh malnourished children in the state, nearly 4.38 lakh children are underweight, while 1.31 lakh fell in the ‘severely underweight’ category.

Notably, the highly-urbanised district of Ahmedabad accounted for the highest number of malnourished children (56,941), followed by tribal-dominated Dahod (51,321), Banaskantha (48,866), Panchmahal (31,512), Kheda (28,800), Surat (26,682) and Bhavnagar (26,128), Babariya stated in written replies giving the data till end-2023.

Also Read: More Than 1,000 Cases Of Child Malnutrition In Thane District: Officials

In one year, as many as 9,634 malnourished children were added in Kheda district, which was the highest in Gujarat.

Kheda was followed by Ahmedabad (3,516 children), Bharuch (1,584) and Valsad (1,335). Barring these four districts, the number of malnourished children declined in other districts during one year ending in December 2023.

The minister said the state government is taking various steps to end malnutrition.

Children in the age group of 3 to 6 years are given hot breakfast and lunch at anganwadis (child care centres). In addition, fruits are given to children twice a week, said Babariya.

For children in the age group of six months to three years, the department provides seven packets of ‘Bal Shakti’ take-home ration each weighing 500 grams, 10 packets to ‘severely underweight’ kids of 3 to 6 years, and four food packets to ‘underweight’ children, the minister stated.

The state government also provides double-fortified salt, fortified oil as well as wheat flour to anganwadi children and their mothers to tackle malnutrition, she added.

Also Read: Covid Pandemic Disruptions Linked To 14 Per Cent Increase In Underweight Children In India: Study

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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