A recent study showed that one in every three children under the age of 5 years in the state of Karnataka has stunted growth. Though malnutrition is usually viewed as a case of being underweight, stunted growth is a more serious effect as it cannot be reversed as easily. Let us find out more about children with stunted growth in Karnataka.
Malnutrition in Karnataka
According to a study of trends in child and maternal malnutrition indicators by the Indian Council of Medical Research, 35% of all children in Karnataka have stunted growth.
This is high considering that in India, the percentage of children with stunted growth stands at 39%. 60% of children and 46% of women in Karnataka are anemic.
Children with stunted growth – Karnataka vs the rest of India
Most malnutrition figures in Karnataka are lower than the national percentage. The only figure that matches is the percentage of children diagnosed with anemia.
|Low birth weight||19%||21%|
|Anemia among women||46%||54%|
data source: Time of India
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have the highest percentages of children with stunted growth in south India. The highest is seen in Uttar Pradesh where 49% of the total child population has stunted growth while Goa has the lowest percentage of children with stunted growth (21%).
32% of all children in Karnataka are underweight as compared to 33% across India. Jharkhand has the most underweight children while Sikkim has the least. In Jharkhand, 42% of children are underweight while in Sikkim, only 17% of children are underweight.
Effect of malnutrition
Acute malnutrition can make a child underweight while chronic malnutrition affects height. While weight is something that can be regained, stunted growth cannot be undone easily.
Malnutrition is not only the result of poor nutrition as a child but begins when the child is in the mother’s womb. The quality of food consumed by an expectant mother plays a large role in the child’s growth and development.
The study showed than 46% of women in Karnataka were anemic. This influences their children’s anemic status and can cause low birth weight, stunting and low weight to height ratios.
Malnutrition in mothers and children is the cause of many diseases. Based on their per capita income, the fertility rate in women under the age of 25 years and mean education, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) calculated each Indian state’s Socio-demographic Index (SDI).
With this data, all Indian states were put into three groups. The middle SDI group had 11 states including Karnataka.
This study throws light on the efforts each state needs to make towards achieving the National Nutritional Mission 2022 and WHO (World Health Organization) 2030 targets.
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