The percentage of children below the age of two suffering from chronic malnutrition in Maharashtra has come down to 22.8% in 2012 from 39% five years ago.
Provisional data in the Comprehensive Nutrition Survey in Maharashtra (CNSM) showed a decline in three categories — malnutrition stunting, wasting and underweight.
While the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) carried out in 2005-06 found that 39% of children up to two years were stunted in the state, the number has dropped to 22.8% this year, according to the CNSM. Chronic malnutrition or stunting (too short for age) is described as a child’s inability to achieve growth and development potential because of persistent nutrition deprivation.
Also, while 19.9% children were reported under the wasting category in the NFHS-3 survey, the number dropped to 15.5% this year. Meanwhile, the number of underweight children dropped from 29.6% in 2005-06 to 21.8% in 2012.
The state government had appointed the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) to carry the survey, which covered 2,809 children in the state. IIPS received technical support from UNICEF.
Between 1999 and 2006, the percentage of chronic malnourished children had reduced from 41.4% to 38.8%. “The state has achieved a faster decline of 2.5 points per year from 2006 to the current year, which is a remarkable progress.” said Dr Victor Aguayo, chief, child nutrition and development.