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‘कुपोषण से सुपोषण की ओर – Meeting the challenges . . .For The Near Future.

‘कुपोषण से सुपोषण की ओर – Meeting the challenges . . .For The Near Future.

4 Jan 2022 | 5 min Read

Dr Pooja Marathe

Author | 10 Articles

Good nutrition allows children to survive, grow, develop, learn, play, participate and contribute – while malnutrition robs the children of the future and leaves young lives hanging in the balance. Gone are the days when malnutrition would mean a sickly thin child living in the rural parts of the country. The scenario is now different as it covers a wide spectrum of the populations that refers to various aspects such as deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a child’s intake of energy or nutrients which is mostly from food.

Malnourishment is a huge area of discussion and the topic has many different aspects of its looking for the community is to be served better. Children from all ways of life have been in t his state at some point in time which may be physical, social, emotional nutritionally, but what catches the attention is that nutritional deficiency are most talked about in society.

Keeping up with the times is also the changing face of malnutrition in kids of this generation. In the 21st Century, malnutrition has taken the ugliest form of a three-headed monster – the one that combines undernutrition, poor vitamin and mineral status, and overweight children leading to childhood obesity. These three manifestations of malnourishment can be seen in the country and the world as a whole and also across continents. The three faces of malnutrition explained can be seen from a different viewpoint broadly as the three main sub-categories of malnutrition are:


1. Classic Undernutrition

In this category, the children across the world who are included are low weight-for-height or wasting, low height-for-age or stunting and underweight which is low weight-for-age when plotted against the growth charts, as a standard used laid by the WHO for plotting the growth of the child against the age. Undernutrition makes children exposed to all kinds of diseases and can even be life-threatening. This is usually treatable and preventable too if the interventions are done early, but the general awareness about this condition is quite low.

Low weight-for-age means the child has recently undergone severe weight loss, either due to diarrhoea, non-availability of food or any other health condition. Low height-for-age usually means a long-standing lack of nutritious food. This can be traced back to poor nutrition when the child is in the mother’s womb, poor nutrition for the child and frequent illness when the child is unvaccinated. Stunting can lead to severely limit a child`s growth in terms of its intelligence and physical capabilities. Underweight children can be so either due to stunting or wasting or due to due to less nutrition.


2. Micronutrient Deficiencies Malnutrition

Vitamins and minerals are collectively known as micronutrients and they are required for healthy growth and development among children via good food. Children who have displayed difficulty in eating behaviour or those who do not consume a variety of foods containing these important nutrients might not be meeting their micronutrient requirement and would be classified as malnourished. Most of the time, absorption of these nutrients is also an issue.
Deficiencies of iodine, vitamin A and iron is a global health problem with many children deficient in them. Many national health programs by the government which have helped in creating awareness have worked today`s creating awareness among people in rural and urban population


3. Overweight and Childhood Obesity

Gone are the days when a cherubic baby was a sign of a healthy baby. Being overweight or obese means a child is much too hefty for their age according to the Body mass index(BMI). This predicament is because there is an imbalance between consumption of calories and expenditure of the calories which is caused due to lack of physical activities.

Sugar and fat laden drinks and snacks are responsible for this. Excess fat can impair health. The impact of the burden could lead to various disease distortion which would be leading to an imbalance in life.

The big three faces of malnutrition pose many issues at the individual community, state and at the country level. For starters, all forms of malnutrition can lead to diet-related to non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks and stroke and are often linked with high blood pressure.

At a country level, the lack of productivity from malnourished individuals and increase in healthcare costs pose a threat to the economic burden on the country. Since poverty is one of the major factors driving malnutrition, food insecurity and related conflicts can also arise in the near future if necessary steps are not taken with utmost care.


The solution to the problem

Nation-wide efforts and state-wise efforts are needed to tackle this problem of malnutrition. Access to safe, nutritious foods even to the economically disadvantaged societies, providing nutrition education for families to make the correct dietary choice for children and improving assessment and continuous nutrition monitoring can help weed and rectify malnutrition early.

The government is also considering linking village, district, state and national level metrics to track and tackle the improvements in children’s health. This will help India mount a unified and more efficient and scientific approach to eradicate child malnutrition by 2030.













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