Incredible India

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India has got a lot more challenges that we thought as a recent World Bank report on malnutrition highlights (I can’t guarantee the World Bank link will work, they don’t seem to be able to get their website to work properly);

The prevalence of underweight among children in India is amongst the highest in the world, and nearly double that of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1998/99, 47 percent of children under three were underweight or severely underweight, and a further 26 percent were mildly underweight such that, in total, underweight afflicted almost three-quarters of Indian children. Levels of malnutrition have declined modestly, with the prevalence of underweight among children under three falling by 11 percent between 1992/93 and 1998/99. However, this lags far behind that achieved by countries with similar economic growth rates.

Undernutrition, both protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, directly affects many aspects of children’s development. In particular, it retards their physical and cognitive growth and increases susceptibility to infection, further increasing the probability of malnutrition. Child malnutrition is responsible for 22 percent of India’s burden of disease. Undernutrition also undermines educational attainment, and productivity, with adverse implications for income and economic growth.

Disaggregation of underweight statistics by socioeconomic and demographic characteristics reveals which groups are most at risk of malnutrition. Most growth retardation occurs by the age of two, and is largely irreversible. Underweight prevalence is higher in rural areas (50 percent) than in urban areas (38 percent); higher among girls (48.9 percent) than among boys (45.5 percent); higher among scheduled castes (53.2 percent) and scheduled tribes (56.2 percent) than among other castes (44.1 percent); and, althoughunderweight is pervasive throughout the wealth distribution, the prevalence of underweight reaches as high as 60 percent in the lowest wealth quintile. Moreover, during the 1990s, urban-rural, inter-caste, male-female and inter-quintile inequalities in nutritional status widened….

Micronutrient deficiencies are also widespread in India. More than 75 percent of preschool children suffer from iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and 57 percent of preschool children have sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). Iodine deficiency is endemic in 85 percent of districts. Progress in reducing the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in India has been slow. As with underweight, the prevalence of different micronutrient deficiencies varies widely across states.”

A related post at Spontaneous Order.

1 Comment

That's fantastic that India has come up with such great plans for their country. People are very interested to have good future and established livings in the next decades of their lives which is why their economy is fast-improving. - Dennis Wong

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on May 11, 2006 11:22 PM.

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