8.8 Lakh Children Under 5 Yrs Died In India In 2018, Highest In World: UNICEF

India reported the most number of deaths of children below five years in 2018, at 8,82,000, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in its report released on October 16 said.

Nigeria recorded the highest number of deaths (8,66,000), followed by Pakistan (4,09,000) deaths.

The report titled “State of the World’s Children 2019”, highlighted an alarmingly rise in the number of children suffering from malnutrition. According to the report, 69 per cent of deaths of children below the age of five are caused due to malnutrition.

The report which is first in 20 years by UNICEF on child nutrition comes on the heels of the Global Hunger Index report.

The UNICEF report highlights that every second child below the age of five in the country is affected by some form of malnutrition.

This includes stunting – 35 per cent, wasting – 17 per cent, and overweight – 2 per cent. Only 42 per cent of children in the age group between 6 to 23 months are fed at an adequate frequency, whereas only 21 per cent receive a proper diverse diet.

UNICEF pointed out that only 53 per cent of infants aged 6-8 months are complementary fed timely.

The report states that children under the age of 5 years in the country are affected by micronutrient deficiencies. Giving ratio based figures, UNICEF said that every fifth child under the age above-mentioned age is vitamin A deficient, whereas one in every third child has a vitamin B12 deficiency, and two out of every five children are anaemic.

The report, however, praised the government for its active role in trying to lower the malnutrition rate. UNICEF said POSHAN Abhiyaan or the National Nutrition Mission is playing an essential role in improving nutrition indicators across India.

The Anaemia Mukt Bharat programme fighting anaemia prevalence was recognised by the UNICEF and implemented by governments across the world to address malnutrition.

UNICEF also noted that city living children are consuming more and more unhealthy food. The trend of eating junk food has slowly seeped into rural areas as well. India’s food consumption patterns mostly lack proteins and micro-nutrients and are influenced by household choices.

Regarding the situation globally, the UNICEF’s report said at least one in three children under five years of age – or 200 million – is either undernourished or overweight.

Shedding light on Indian women’s health, UNICEF said that every second is anaemic. It noted that anaemia is the most prevalent in children under the age of five and is found twice among adolescent girls than boys.

It also highlighted that Indian children are being diagnosed with adult diseases such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease and pre-diabetic.

Source: thelogicalindian.com

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