India is facing a major malnutrition crisis as it holds almost a third of the world’s burden for stunting, according to a global nutrition report published on Thursday.
With 46.6 million children who are stunted, India tops the list of countries followed by Nigeria (13.9 million) and Pakistan (10.7 million), the Global Nutrition Report 2018 said.
Stunting, or low height for age, is caused by long-term insufficient nutrient-intake and frequent infections.
India also accounted for 25.5 million children who are wasted, followed by Nigeria (3.4 million) and Indonesia (3.3 million).
Wasting, or low weight for height, is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease.
“More than half of the world’s children impacted by wasting (26.9 million) live in South Asia. Of the three countries that are home to almost half (47.2 per cent) of all stunted children, two are in Asia, with India having 46.6 million (31 per cent) and Pakistan having 10.7 million,” the report said.
Globally 150.8 million children under five years are stunted and 50.5 million are wasted, the report said.
India also figures among the set of countries that has more than a million overweight children. The other nations are China, Indonesia, India, Egypt, US, Brazil, and Pakistan.
“India’s national nutrition strategy which is focused on addressing district-specific factors draws on analyses such as these along with district-specific nutrition profiles to enable diagnostic work and policy action to reduce inequalities and childhood stunting,” the report said.