Malnutrition Among the Children of India
India is among the highest of all countries in the world that suffer most from malnutrition in children with 46% under the age of 36 months (Wakefield 2011). Why should helpless children suffer from a preventable problem? With almost 220.1 million people living below the poverty line it makes it nearly impossible for many families to feed their children. Poverty is something that can be stopped but actions from the government need to be put in place. Food should not be a privilege but rather a right.
From the words of Frances Moore Lappe, “Food has become a political weapon.” Millions of babies die each day due to inadequate nutrition. They are suffering because of a lack of resources, education, and governmental support. With our world in an abundance of food why is malnutrition a problem? The world is centered on money and that is something that will never change but with proper policies and certain efforts there can be relief in malnutrition.
In India’s rural poverty stricken states money is scarce. Small-scale farmers struggle to produce enough crops for a small amount of rupee (Indian’s currency). These farmers sell almost their entire crop to the markets in order to buy the things they need to survive. With the unpredictability of weather crops may not grow and then these families suffer with even less. Since agriculture is the largest employer this is the main problem when combating malnutrition. Although there has been an 8% increase in India’s overall economy the agricultural sector is not growing fast enough (Gulati, et al, 2012).
The lack of growth in agriculture has prevented any possible decrease in malnutrition. The Indian government needs to improve productivity in agriculture first and foremost in order to make any positive changes towards the reduction of malnutrition in children. India is divided up into many states some being wealthy while others being of the most poor in the world. In Goa, Delhi, and Punjab the poverty rates are low but in Calcutta and Maharashtra nearly 50% of the people live below the poverty line. In Calcutta nearly 40,000 houses do not have a proper toilet leading to serious sanitation problems, which is a huge factor in malnutrition. Calcutta has been expanding in their industrial sectors, which is only adding to the sanitation problems. With such a high population of people in Calcutta there are many pavement dwellers being the main reason for the sanitation problem (TNN 2009). There are inadequate resources for drinking increasing dehydration. This is a crucial part of proper nutrition and should never be compromised. With people suffering from sanitation disease is more prevalent and without proper nutrition the immune system is compromised causing the likelihood to catch a disease to increase. Ravi Menon blames the diarrhea and cholera outbreaks on the lack of sanitation.
This issue will not change until there is a utilitarianism change and a law forbidding street dwellers put in place. In 2000 global leaders joined together to developed a resolution on the Millennium Development Goals. They main objectives that were focused on and altered were the reduction in child mortality in the under-fives and the reduction in maternal mortality. Many countries have been improving while others continue to lag behind, Tanzania being one of them. In a new report from the UNICEF there is a 10% increase in the inequality between the poorest and richest household, although there was an overall reduction in under-five mortality. The underdeveloped nations account for 90% of the maternal and child mortality globally and studies have shown that the health systems are unfair, favoring the wealthy over the poor. This is a cause of money and the policies in place
To combat the issue of malnutrition among children, education for women needs to increase as well as the percent of people living below the poverty line needs to decrease. The caste system in India is a major reason for rural poverty because people are held in a never-ending continuum with less opportunity (Wakefield 2011). In order to achieve these underlying issues the government of India needs to step in. Poverty eradication programs have been implemented but have yet to reach the center of the country. Mothers are killing their babies without knowing. The people of India are familiar with the affects of malnutrition but they have no ways prevent it without education. Of the females living in rural areas aged 15 to 49 years, 55% were illiterate (Gulati, et al, 2012). In order to practice healthy behaviors women need education. 61% of children are dying from diarrhea and 52% of children are dying from pneumonia. When a child is not receiving enough of the essential vitamins and minerals they are more prone to illness and serious disease. A common scenario of an uneducated mother trying to cure diarrhea is to remove solids from their child’s diet, which only limits the nutrients needed to fight disease. Although there have been planned health interventions to increase nutritional education the implementation lacked and no positive changes took effect.
Sanitation and education are huge factors in the fight against malnutrition in India but agriculture has the largest impact on the nutritional wellness of the people. There are many approaches to take to fight malnutrition. Biofortification of crops could reduce malnutrition rates by increasing the nutritional quality of the crops. HarvestPlus Initiative has proven that developing and disseminating biofortified crops is highly cost-effective in the reduction of malnutrition. In order to see success this implementation needs to be produced in large quantities and widely available.
People fighting malnutrition should receive the food they need to survive without cost. A policy should be made regarding the right for people to be given an adequate amount of food for survival with certain implications. If the family is willing to work they should not go hungry. It is not morally acceptable innocent babies are dying every day. With an abundance of food this issue does not make sense. Government is to blame for a lack of attention towards this horrible problem. There is a lack of democracy among the people. Uneven distribution needs to stop but more importantly movement needs to take control of the productivity of agriculture.
Indicators of the level of agricultural performance or income have a strong and significant negative relationship with indices of undernutrition among adults and children
access to sanitation facilities and women’s literacy were also found to be strong factors affecting malnutrition. Access to healthcare for women and child-care practices, in particular breast-feeding within 1 hour after birth, are other important determinants of malnutrition among adults and children. 1st
Gulati A, Ganesh-Kumar, Shreedhar G, Nandakumar T. 2012. Agriculture and malnutrition in India. 33:1, pp. 74-86. Available at:
Pathak P, Singh A. 2011. Trends in malnutrition among children in India: Growing inequalities across different economic groups. 73:4, pp. 576-585. Available at: http://dx.doi.org.proxy.lib.iastate.edu/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.06.024
Wakesfield, O. The Complete Guide to India. 2011. Poverty in India. September 7, 2012. http://www.all-about-india.com/Poverty-in-India.html
Cite this Malnutrition Among Children In India
Malnutrition Among Children In India. (2016, May 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/malnutrition-among-children-in-india/