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74% Indians have insufficient access to adequate nutrition, nutrition experts highlight country’s food insecurity problem

Mar 21,2024

Bengaluru: As India nears its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for eliminating chronic hunger by 2030, the country has witnessed remarkable progress in the reduction of malnutrition in recent years, as demonstrated by an almost 3 per cent decrease in the percentage of children below five years of age that are stunted or chronically malnourished, according to the National Health Family Survey 5 (2019–21). Despite various efforts, malnutrition remains a consistent burden on the country. Nutrition experts have pointed out that 74 per cent of Indians have insufficient access to adequate nutrition, highlighting the widespread problem of food insecurity in the country.

To combat the nationwide challenge, experts and practitioners emphasised the need for collaborative strategies to engage pre-adolescent and adolescent children in tackling malnutrition. They highlighted the significance of integrating nutrition education in the school curricula to enable children to make knowledgeable food decisions.

Archana Sinha, Co-founder and CEO, Nourishing Schools Foundation (NSF), said, “As we move closer towards India’s SDG target of eradicating malnutrition by 2030, Nourishing Schools Foundation envisions further collaborative initiatives to accelerate the country’s battle against chronic hunger.”

Stressing the urgency of addressing the nutrition gap in the country, S Veena Rao, Director, Auro Center for Public Health, Public Nutrition, Public Policy, Bangalore, and Former Advisor, Karnataka Nutrition Mission, Government of Karnataka, said, “A strong nation must have strong human capital. Much has been said about India’s demographic dividend, that 67.3 per cent of our population is between 15-59 years of age, and that this demographic advantage will continue for another three decades. Students constitute our present and future demographic dividend and can become critical agents of change. They must be nurtured into becoming India’s strong human capital, especially those from less privileged sections of society.”

Highlighting the need for such insightful platforms, Dr K Madan Gopal, Former Senior Consultant, NITI Aayog, GoI, noted, “India has achieved remarkable strides in the battle against malnutrition, particularly in safeguarding the health of children and women, thanks to decades of dedicated policy initiatives. As we zero in on our national aspiration to eliminate malnutrition within the coming decade, we must harness our collective resolve.”

Source: Healthworld