Isn’t it harrowing, that India in global hunger index 2019 stands at 102 out of 117 Countries, and ranks 3rd in obesity after America and China?
India despite being among the fastest-growing economies is still compared to Nigeria and Africa when it comes to the availability of food.
In the next paragraph, I am just going to show the depth of India’s Twin Problem.
Important points on Undernutrition and Obesity
The gap between undernutrition and obese adults in India is decreasing. Earlier in 2005-6, the percentage of the undernutrition population was thrice as the percentage of the overweight population.
But now, the condition has become very different. According to the Family Health Survey, the percentage of overweight women is 13.7% while underweight women are 20.1%.
Similarly, the percentage of overweight men is 18.6% and underweight men is 20.2%.
Another report of Lancet Child and Adolescent Health clearly says that 11.5% of Indian children (Aged 2-4 years) are overweight.
On the contrary, malnourishment is the reason for 62.8% of under-5 death. Six of the Indian States have over 20% of the overweight Children Population.
IMPACT OF OBESITY AND UNDERNutrition.
The impact of malnutrition and obesity goes beyond just health challenges. Apart from health, it can also affect the economic, education, and economy;
ultimately, it affects the growth of the country. The health concerns of a malnourished person are namely:-
weight loss, fatigue, underdeveloped brain, slow psychomotor activity, weak muscles and stature, unable to conceive (women), weak immune system, etc.
On the other hand, an obese person suffers from:-
Heart disease, joint pain, type 2-diabetes, cholesterol, and the list continues. Another alarming fact that should not be ignored is that almost 9.2% of children are pre-diabatic in India.
Effect On Education
Malnutrition (obesity and undernutrition) directly affects the education sector. The output of a malnourished is very less than a normal-weight child.
Undernourished children are unable to grasp concepts and have poor physical capability. Henceforth, affecting their overall performance.
Moreover, underweight children have a poor immune system that makes them prone to disease leading to missing schools.
While on the other hand overweight children due to the consumption of loads of fast food. Their metabolic activities are disturbed. Which results in disturbing the whole functioning of their body.
Today, many teenage girls are suffering from PCOD. Improper diet is one of the key factors of PCOD. As a consequence, their performance also decreases. All in all, malnutrition is affecting the education sector as well.
Effect On Economy
Now let’s see how malnutrition affects the economy, here I would be focussing on adults. As we all know “Health is Wealth”.
Let us assume an undernourished man working on his agricultural land. And an obese man in his service sector. Both of them will get tired sooner than healthy people. This results in a decrease in expected economic activity due to less output than expected.
Here, we can conclude undernutrition and obesity are big obstructions in India’s economy.
Read our article on : Doctor’s Day: Loopholes in Indian Medical System
International help to fight undernutrition and obesity
In 2012, the World Health Assembly targeted 6 alarming problems that need immediate attention. They have also set a few goals for India to meet by 2022. So let’s take a look at those goals.
- Reduce stunting by 50% among children below 5 years
- 30% reduction in low birth weight
- 50% reduction in cases of anemia among women.
- Increasing and promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
- No increase in childhood overweight.
- Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to 5%.
National Schemes to reduce undernutrition and obesity
Indian Government and various NGOs thrive hard to control undernourishment and obesity. The central government started various schemes and Programmes. The national-level awareness for undernutrition and obesity was started.
One such major project was Mission Poshan. Conducted by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, in association with UNICEF, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Aamir Khan, and supported by Vodafone. It was launched on 2nd July 2015.
It targeted pregnant women and children of various age groups and provided them with good food.
By introducing the Integrated Child Development Scheme. It provided lactating mothers with supplements in nutrients, counseling for diet, prenatal care, immunization, iron supplement, transportation for institutional delivery, cash benefit, and postnatal care. Also encouraging Breastfeeding.
Children (0-3 years):-
Its aimed to protect children from being malnourished.
So, it ensured proper home-based care of new-born, proper immunization, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, cashless treatment for infants less than a month old, and last but not the least facility-based care to prevent undernutrition.
Children (3-6 years):-
In the growing years of a child, growth monitoring is essential to detect cases of stunting or wasting. For this reason, Mission Poshan ensured immunization and micronutrient supplements, deworming, and regular health Checkups of every child.
Children (6-14 years).
The top-rated mid-day meal was started. The hot cooked nutritious meal was served to all school-going children.
Besides the mid-day meal, remember the Annual Health Check-ups at your school, it was a part of this program.
Adolescent girls (11-18 years)
In this part, the girls were provided with a weekly Iron supplement to help fight Anemia. Also taking care of access to sanitation facilities, and safe drinking water. The Girls were also given vocational training to empower them for the future.
They were on the frontline in our battle against undernutrition and obesity. It is because of their coordinated performance and Hard Work that we have reached so far.
A wholehearted Thank you is very less to show genuine matters gratitude towards them.
Despite all efforts by our government and front line workers, we have seen so feeble improvement in the data of undernutrition and obesity.
The only solution to eradicate undernutrition and obesity is to control its causes and nothing else. In this particular section, I will be mentioning the causes and prevention of undernutrition and obesity together.
Extensive practice of single eating habits.
Right after the green revolution, our country has seen massive spikes in the growth of Rice and Wheat. Subsidies and various resources were provided to farmers for the extensive cultivation of Wheat and Rice.
As a result of which millets, bajra, daliya got excluded from our diet.
By increasing the intake of all locally available grains will surely help in fighting undernutrition and obesity.
Change in lifestyle.
After the urbanisation of India, our food habits have also evolved from consuming whole grain to feasting on butter chicken pasta burger and pizza.
This shift harmed city children. Making them suffer from obesity.
Kerala Government had imposed a fat tax of 14.5% on all fast food selling restaurants. This is helping in cutting down the fat intake by people.
Early pregnancy leads to low birth weight and undernutrition in children. Most of the women in villages are undernourished. When they become a mother at an early age, gave birth to a weak low birth weight baby.
We have seen slumps growing near the food stall. Youngsters seem to love and enjoy the street food. They don’t even care to know about the nutritious value in the food?
Maintaining proper hygiene is important to provide a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet for all individuals.
Awareness among people:
Even now people are not aware of a balanced diet. All of them living in the cities have heard the term but the information they know about the balanced diet is minimal. Most of the city people lack the necessary micronutrients.
Proper awareness of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is very crucial to eradicate undernutrition and obesity.
Now that we all know the impact, and realized that obesity and Undernutrition is the picture of two different India.
To make India developed, we need to lessen the gap between urban and rural India in terms of education, healthcare, and other basic needs.
Educated people living in urban India should take care of their diet and also think about the underprivileged area of our country. India is way back in its journey of becoming a healthy India, together we can help it move ahead.