ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India’s Hunger Pangs

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.

Interpretations and Implications of Increasing Obesity in India

The National Family Health Survey-3 and 4 data show that in the past 10 years, overweight/obesity among women in terms of Body Mass Index has increased quite sharply. In the Indian context, undernutrition and obesity are not separate problems. A large proportion of overweight/obese women are undernourished, with small stature, food transition towards more fats and increasingly sedentary lifestyles making them vulnerable towards being overweight/obese. More diversified diet reduces the risk of overweight/obesity. It is suggested that adequate and good quality diversified diets need to be ensured for comprehensive energy and nutrient adequacy. This requires an overhaul of India’s food programmes.

Millets in the Indian Plate

Millets can play a role in providing nutrition security as they are rich in various macro and micronutrients, and can help to fight various non-communicable diseases. Hence, a suggestion was made to include them in the basket of goods provided through the public distribution system. The findings of this article suggest that, with the present level of production, millets can be provided in some states of India which have culturally grown as well as consumed them. However, scaling this policy to the national level may not be possible unless rigorous measures are undertaken to improve production as well as consumer acceptability.

Fiscal Challenges in Scaling Up Nutrition Interventions

Four states—Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh—together account for around 45% of stunted children in India. The existing literature makes a case for delivery of a host of specific interventions referred to as the direct nutrition interventions, along with sector-wise or systemic interventions, to bring about significant reductions in prevalence of stunting among children. An analysis of the delivery of DNIs in the said states shows that apart from the decline in fiscal priority for the DNIs during 2014–15 to 2017–18, there are also significant resource gaps for some of these interventions, which underscores the need for enhancing fiscal priority for these interventions.

Rethinking Effective Nutrition Convergence

The National Nutrition Mission has explicitly recognised the multisectoral nature of the challenge of malnutrition and has made “convergence” one of its key pillars. However, it does not yet have sharp operational clarity on how stakeholders can ensure that multiple programmes reach the same mother–child dyad in the first 1,000-day period. The article illustrates how data on co-coverage of interventions can be used to plan for and assess the success of efforts to strengthen convergence.

Workers in Their Own Right

Despite their crucial role in welfare services, scheme workers continue to struggle for recognition of their rights.

Delivering Essential Nutrition

In India, despite provisions for tribal development, 32% of tribal women are chronically undernourished, as opposed to 23% among those not belonging to tribal households.Large-scale surveys and routine monitoring are currently deficient in measuring the nutrition status of women, especially tribal women. This study was undertaken to analyse the reach of various health-related schemes for tribal women in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha. In the light of its findings, it is recommended that all national schemes should be reviewed through a tribal lens, as tribes remain outside the ambit of most nutrition safety nets. Proven measures like strengthening tribal development nodal agencies, motivational incentives to fieldworkers and organised community involvement, need to be scaled up.

Deploying the Power of Social Protection to Improve Nutrition

The nutritional status of women and children in India continues to be poor. In this paper, we discuss how three major flagship social protection government programmes—the Targeted Public Distribution System, the Mid-day Meal Scheme, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act—can be made more nutrition sensitive. We discuss three potential approaches to making these programmes deliver better nutrition outcomes. These are strengthening governance and operations so that the programmes achieve their basic goals of improving food security and poverty; integrating nutrition goals and actions for each of these programmes; and leveraging the reach and scale of these programmes to also deliver specific nutrition interventions via these programmes, especially the tpds.

Demographic and Health Trends in India (2005-06--2015-16)

A brief exposition of the trends in health, fertility, status of women, nutrition and child mortality between 2005-06 and 2015-16 as have emerged from the National Family Health Survey in 17 states.

Towards Equality in Healthcare

The Rapid Survey on Children shows a new trend of an increased access to healthcare by marginalised communities like Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes which have made substantial gains in the last decade. However much needs to be achieved in the realm of nutrition and sanitation where these communities remain acutely deprived.

Some Good News

Health and nutrition indicators have improved, but remain unacceptably low.

Taking Food Safety Seriously

India needs to treat food-borne diseases with much more seriousness than it does at present.

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