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Most states won't meet Poshan Abhiyaan targets to curb child malnutrition: Study

Some of the states, which have reported the worst cases include Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Tripura.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 18, 2019, 11.13 PM IST
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According to the study, the death rate attributable to malnutrition in children under five years of age in India has dropped by two-third from 1990 to 2017.
New Delhi: Terming the targets framed by the Centre to tackle malnutrition and stunting under Poshan Abhiyaan ‘aspirational’, a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated that many Indian states are running behind and may not be able to achieve them.

The study presented trends and estimates of disease burden caused due to child and maternal malnutrition in India between 1990 and 2017. Some of the states, which have reported the worst cases include Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Tripura.

Poshan Abhiyaan, earlier called the National Nutrition Mission, was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2017-18 to reduce instances of malnutrition and stunting in children by 2022.

Apart from Poshan Abhiyaan, the study claimed that malnutrition trends between 1990 and 2017 show that the country may also miss global targets for 2030, set by WHO and UNICEF. The report further recommended the need for higher rates of improvement and the setting ‘bold’ yet 'achievable' targets for 2030.
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Balram Bhargava, secretary in the department of health research in the health ministry and also director general ICMR, said the apex body and other Poshan Abhiyaan partners are looking at ways of getting more statespecific data to tackle malnutrition.

The estimates, part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017, were published in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health and also released by ICMR on Wednesday. The study was conducted by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative — a joint initiative of the ICMR, Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in collaboration with the ministry of health and family welfare.

According to the study, the death rate attributable to malnutrition in children under five years of age in India has dropped by two-third from 1990 to 2017. However, malnutrition still accounts for 68% of deaths of children of this age group.

Among malnutrition indicators, lowbirth weight is the biggest contributor to disease burden. Director of the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative, Lalit Dandona said, “Low-birth weight needs particular policy attention in India as it is the biggest contributor to child death among allmalnutrition indications and its rate of decline is among the lowest.”

In 2017, the study states, prevalence of low-birth rate was 21.4% , child stunting was 39.3% , anemia in children at 59.7% and anemia in women between the age of 15 and 49 was 54.4%.

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