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  • Two-thirds of the 1.04 million deaths in children under five years in India are still attributable to malnutrition, according to the first comprehensive estimate of disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition and the trends of its indicators in every State from
  • The report was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health by the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative.
Malnutrition ●        Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. ●        The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. 1.      Undernutrition- which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). 2.      Overnutrition- overweight, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer).
More about what the report says
  • The report states that the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rate attributable to malnutrition in children varies 7-fold among the States and is highest in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland, and Tripura.
The burden of malnutrition
What is the Disability Adjusted Life Year(DALY)? ●        DAYL is the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature death, and the years of productive life lost due to disability ●        DALYs are used to measure the combined quantity and quality of life of a population. ●        According to the WHO, one DALY can be thought of as one lost year of 'healthy' life. ●        The sum of these DALYs across the population, or the burden of disease, can be thought of as a measurement of the gap between the current health status and an ideal health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age, free of disease and disability.
  • The report says the overall under-five death rate and the death rate due to malnutrition has decreased substantially from 1990 to 2017, but malnutrition is still the leading risk factor for death in children under five years, and is also the leading risk factor for disease burden for all ages considered together in most States.
  • Among the malnutrition indicators, low birth weight is the largest contributor to child deaths in India, followed by child growth failure which includes stunting, underweight and wasting.
  • The malnutrition trends over about three decades reported in this paper utilized all available data sources from India, which enable more robust estimates than the estimates based on single sources that may have more biases.
The burden of malnutrition The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative
  • It is a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with experts and stakeholders associated with over 100 Indian institutions, involving many leading health scientists and policy makers from India.
The way forward
  • For substantial improvements across the malnutrition indicators, States will need to implement an integrated nutrition policy to effectively address the broader determinants of under-nutrition across the life cycle.
  • Focus will be needed on major determinants like provision of clean drinking water, reducing rates of open defecation, improving women’s educational status, and food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable families. Read More Articles: The Malaise Of Malnutrition Eat Right India movement