Salient features of report on malnutrition and hunger

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday released the HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) survey report 2011. The report covered more than 73,000 households in 112 districts across nine states and more than one lakh children and 74,000 mothers. Some important findings:

– 42 percent children under five are underweight and 59 percent are stunted, about half are severely stunted.

– Malnutrition is significantly higher among children from low-income families, although rates of child malnutrition are significant among middle and low income families. Children from Muslim or Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe households generally have worst nutrition indicators.

– 66 percent mothers did not attend school; rates of child underweight and stunting are significantly higher among mothers with low levels of education.

– The prevalence of underweight child among mothers who cannot read is 45 percent while among those with 10 or more years of education — 27 percent. The corresponding figures for child stunting are 63 and 43 percent respectively.

– By age 24 months, 42 percent of children are underweight and 58 percent are stunted in the 100 focus districts.

– Prevalence of child underweight has decreased from 53 percent (District Level Household Survey, 2004) to 42 percent (HUNGaMA, 2011).

– 51 percent mothers did not give colostrum (the first milk) to the newborn and 58 percent mothers fed water to their infants before six months.

– Girls seem to have nutrition advantage over boys in the first months of life. However, it seems to be reversed over time, potentially indicating feeding and care neglect.