India has made no progress on anaemia, childhood wasting: Global Nutrition Report

India ‘off-course’ in meeting 7 of 13 global nutrition targets, according to this year’s report on global nutrition  

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Tuesday 23 November 2021
Photo: Vikas Choudhary / CSE

India has made no progress on anaemia and childhood wasting according to the 2021 Global Nutrition Report (GNR, 2021) released Nov 23, 2021.  

The country featured among the 161 countries documented in the report as having made no progress or said to be worsening with regards to reducing anaemia.

Over half of Indian women in the age group 15-49 years are anaemic, according to the report.

There has been a rise in anaemic Indian women since 2016. In 2016, 52.6 per cent of Indian women were anaemic. But in 2020, 53 per cent were found to be anaemic.

India is also among 23 countries that have made no progress or are worsening on reducing ‘childhood wasting’.  Wasting refers to children whose weight is low-for-their height.

Over 17 per cent of Indian children under 5 years of age are affected. This figure is much higher than the average for Asia where close to 9 per cent children are affected.  

India is ‘off-course’ in meeting 7 of the 13 global nutrition targets, according to the report. 

These include sodium intake, raised blood pressure (both men and women), obesity (both men and women) and diabetes (both men and women).

Some 6.2 per cent of adult (aged 18 years and over) women and 3.5 per cent of adult men are living with obesity in the country.

In fact, no country in the world was ‘on course’ to achieve the target for obesity, the report said.

India is among 53 countries ‘on course’ to meet the target for stunting, the report said. But over 34 per cent of children under 5 years of age are still affected, it added.

This figure is higher than average for Asia, where close to 22 per cent are affected by stunting.

The country is also among 105 countries that are ‘on course’ to meet the target for ‘childhood overweight’ and among 53 countries ‘on course’ to meet the target for ‘exclusive breast feeding’. Some 58 per cent of infants in the age group 0-5 months are exclusively breastfed in India.

India does not have adequate data on prevalence of ‘low birth weight’, according to the report.

The annual Global Nutrition Report annual report sets out progress towards global nutrition targets.

It also evaluates the impact of poor diets on human health and the planet, assesses the nutrition financing landscape and provides a comprehensive overview of reporting on past Nutrition for Growth commitments.

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