NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth Swachh India NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth Swachh India
  • Home/
  • Nutrition/
  • Undernutrition In India A Big Concern, Urgent Attention Needed: Experts Say

Nutrition

Undernutrition In India A Big Concern, Urgent Attention Needed: Experts Say

The Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) 2023 launched this week by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said that globally the undernourished population had increased to 768 million in 2021, marking a 34.2 per cent rise from 2014 when it was estimated to be 572 million

Undernutrition In India A Big Concern, Urgent Attention Needed: Experts Day
Shahidur Rashid, Director-South Asia, IFPRI, noted that India is well placed when it comes to food production and availability, but there are challenges in terms of accessibility

Kathmandu: Undernutrition, especially the deficiency of micronutrients, remains a big concern in India, say food experts who emphasised the need to focus more on tackling this “hidden hunger” that undermines the health of people. Undernutrition denotes insufficient intake of energy and nutrients to meet an individual’s needs to maintain good health.

The Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) 2023 launched this week by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said that globally the undernourished population had increased to 768 million in 2021, marking a 34.2 per cent rise from 2014 when it was estimated to be 572 million.

Also Read: Out Of 5.6 Crore Kids, 43 Lakh Found Malnourished By Poshan Tracker In February: Centre

Undernourishment was most prevalent in Afghanistan at 30 per cent between 2019 and 2021, followed by 17 per cent in Pakistan, 16 per cent in India, 12 per cent in Bangladesh, six per cent in Nepal, and four per cent in Sri Lanka, the report said.

Shahidur Rashid, Director-South Asia, IFPRI, noted that India is well placed when it comes to food production and availability, but there are challenges in terms of accessibility.

One key component that is missing is the nutritional aspect of it, so eating enough rice and wheat is not enough for a healthy life. We have that issue in the country and those are the issues that the country should be focusing on in the future. For example, micronutrient deficiency, which is called hidden hunger, is high in India and in South Asia. So, we need to think about ways that can provide adequate micronutrients so that we can produce a healthy generation for the future, Rashid told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of the report launch here.

Dr Ranjitha Pushkar, Country Representative for India and Research at The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), agreed with Rashid, noting that food insecurity may not be a big problem in India but nutritional deficiency definitely is.

The nutrition levels (deficiency) are a big concern. It is expected that as heat levels rise, the nutrition quality or content of many of these crops, particularly the staple crops such as rice and wheat will (further) go down, so how do we compensate for that, Mr Puskur told PTI.

Dr Pramod K. Joshi, former president of the Agricultural Economics Research Association, India, noted that undernourishment is primarily a distribution problem rather than an issue of food security.

India’s focus has been food security. In order to tackle undernutrition, you have to go for a diversified diet. The government cannot provide under the food distribution system the diversified diet. You need a different kind of policy response for nutritional security. Food security and nutritional security can not be managed by one policy, Mr Joshi told PTI.

Also Read: Odisha Makes Provision Of Rs 250 Crore To Address Malnutrition Issues

Projections from IFPRI’s IMPACT model show that with climate change as many as 72 million more people will be undernourished by 2050, as compared to a scenario without climate change, the authors said, quoting figures from a 2022 report by Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Rashid added that another important issue is how India produces food.

It does so by subsidising fertilisers, by subsidising credit, by paying for the Food Corporation of India. There, India has issues because subsidy bills are ballooning and then there is the use of fertiliser not necessarily good for the soil in some cases. But there are some new initiatives – like the soil health card which will give us some sense about the deficiency of nutrients in the soil and if we can act accordingly then food will get micronutrients needed for a healthy life, he said.

A Soil Health Card is a government scheme used to assess the current status of soil health and, when used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.

While India’s undernutrition problem has many reasons, experts say continued increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are also behind the reduction in the nutritional quality of foods.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on climate change and land (2019) says that while increased CO2 is projected to be beneficial for crop productivity at lower temperature increases, it is projected to lower nutritional quality.

A study in China suggests that high temperature during the early grain-filling period can result in an accelerated grain-filling process, reducing amino acid content in the grain which is an important nutritional quality trait in rice.

India still has one of the worst rates of child nourishment in the world, despite decades of investment to address this problem.

There are over 14 lakh severely malnourished children in the country, as per the government’s Poshan Tracker, the Women and Child Development Ministry said.

Also Read: More Than 1.25 Lakh Children In Gujarat Malnourished: Government Tells Assembly

(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 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. 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 – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) 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, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, 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 likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Highlights: Banega Swasth India Launches Season 10

Reckitt’s Commitment To A Better Future

India’s Unsung Heroes

Women’s Health

हिंदी में पढ़ें

This website follows the DNPA Code of Ethics

© Copyright NDTV Convergence Limited 2024. All rights reserved.