India’s dual burden of malnutrition and obesity has once been again highlighted in the Global Nutrition Report 2017 which shows that while 51 per cent women are anaemic, 22 per cent are overweight. The anaemia figure quoted in the report is marginally better than the 53 per cent quoted in the National Family Health Survey 4 which analysed data from 2015-16.
The report that looked at 140 countries also found ‘significant burden’ of childhood stunting in India — stunting refers to the condition when children are too short for their age due to lack of nutrients and suffer irreversible damage to brain capacity. In India, the report said, 38 per cent of children under five are affected by stunting. About 21 per cent of children under 5 have been categorised as ‘wasted’ or ‘severely wasted’ — meaning they do not weigh enough for their height. These figures are at par with the National Family Health Survey 4 data.
The report mentioned that while India has shown some progress in addressing stunting in children under 5, it has made no progress or presents worse outcomes in the percentage of reproductive-age women with anaemia, and is off course in terms of reaching targets for reducing adult obesity and diabetes.
The Global Nutrition Report 2017 calls for nutrition to be placed at the heart of efforts to end poverty, fight disease, raise educational standards and tackle climate change. The report also found that 88 per cent of the countries studied face a serious burden of two or three forms of malnutrition.
The report found that overweight and obesity are on the rise in almost every country, with two billion of the world’s seven billion people now overweight or obese and a less than one per cent chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025. In India, 16 per cent of adult men and 22 per cent of adult women are overweight, according to the report.