More than 33 lakh children in India are malnourished and more than half of them are in the severe category. Giving this information in response to an RTI, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said that Maharashtra, Bihar and Gujarat are on the top in the case of malnourished children. The ministry has expressed concern that the Kovid epidemic may further aggravate the health and nutrition crisis in the poorest of the poor.
The ministry, in its estimate as of October 14, 2021, states that there are 17,76,902 severely malnourished children and 15,46,420 moderately severely malnourished (MAM) in the country. Children up to October 14, 2021. These figures are for 34 states and union territories of the country, the ministry said in response to an RTI query by PTI. These figures are alarming in themselves, but they become even more alarming when compared with the figures of last November.
91 percent growth in one year
Between November 2020 and October 14, 2021, the number of SAM children has seen an increase of 91 per cent which has now increased from 9,27,606 (9.27 lakh) to 17.76 lakh. However, the figures for both the years have been prepared in different ways. The new data has been generated through Posham Tracker where the numbers were directly entered by the Anganwadis and accessed by the Centre. It does not specify the age group of the children.
Health has a bad effect, more likely to die
Both MAM and SAM have serious health effects on a child’s health. Children with SAM weigh too little for their height, and are nine times more likely to die of diseases caused by weakened immune systems. People with MAM are also at increased risk of childhood morbidity and mortality.
Where are the malnourished children?
The RTI reply stated that Maharashtra recorded the highest number of malnourished children at 6,16,772 (6.16 lakh) with 1,57,984 (1.57 lakh) MAM children and 4,58,788 (4.58 lakh) SAM children. Bihar is second on the list with 4,75,824 (4.75 lakh) malnourished children (3,23,741 MAM children and 1,52,083 SAM children). Gujarat is at number three with 1,55,101 (1.55 lakh) MAM children and 1,65,364 (1.65 lakh) SAM children. While their total number is 3,20,465.