BHOPAL: Shahdol and Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh have the highest percentage of over- and under-nourished children among 100 districts, according to an Annual Health Survey, which, experts said, needed further validation.
With 31.3% over-nourished children under the age of five, Shahdol topped the Clinical, Anthropometric and Biochemical (CAB) survey 2014 done in 100 districts of nine states.
The district-wise analysis of the CAB survey was released recently in the annual health survey (AHS) report.
Under-nourishment is a deficiency of calories or vital nutrients essential for growth and survival whereas over-nourishment is a form of malnutrition marked by an excessive intake of nutrients.
Sagar district in Bundelkhand region came second in the over-nourished list while Sheopur, where more than 60 malnutrition deaths have been reported, had 8.5% over-nourished kids. Of the top 15 over-nourished districts, nine are from MP, the report said.
On the other side, Hoshangabad recorded 48.7% under-nourished children, highest among the 100 districts.
At the state level, Madhya Pradesh has 19.7% under-nourished and 11.5% over-nourished children, the highest among the nine states. Chhattisgarh recorded the highest level of under-nourishment at 33.5%, the survey found.
Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest over-nourishment gender-wise too at 11.7 % for boys and 11.2 % for girls followed by Uttarakhand where the prevalence is 10.2% in males and 9 % in females.
Overall, MP’s 16 districts fall under the under-nourished category while 26 districts came under over-nourished.
The CAB survey was conducted on a sample size of 17,239 and measured height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, samples of blood for Hb, glucose level, etc.
State advisor to the commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food Case, Sachin Jain said the data was surprising as Sheopur doesn’t feature in the under-nourished districts.
“If this data is true, then it means we have failed to set a balance when it comes to nutrition among the children. We need to have a comprehensive nutrition policy that addresses these imbalances,” he said.
Jain also stressed on the rapid rise of fast-food and sachet culture “that is adding more fat, salt and sugar in food intake of rural people”.
“I think this data needs further validation,” he said.
Amulya Nidhi, of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), an NGO that works in the health sector noted that while the survey used WHO standards for data collection, the samples could have been taken from well-off areas.
“Then it is possible that data shows more over-nourished children,” he said.
He also noted that parents in rural areas generally don’t remember the birth dates, which could have caused to the surprising revelation in the data.