India’s higher economic growth has not translated into a superior nutritional status for the country’s women and children, as the country houses the highest number of underweight children globally, the World Bank has said.
“The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world,” the bank said in its publication, ‘The World Bank in India´.
“Despite experiencing unprecedented economic growth during the last decade, South Asia including India, has the highest rates of malnutrition and the largest numbers of undernournished in the world,” it said.
Citing estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it said about 49 per cent of the world’s underweight children, 34 per cent of the world’s stunted children and 46 per cent of the world’s wasted children, live in India.
The prevalence of malnutrition varies across states, demographic and socio-economic groups, with scheduled tribes and scheduled castes ranking highest among all. “Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand have the highest malnutrition rates,” it said, adding that even in urban areas, a third of the children are underweight.
“Over the past decade, progress in reducing malnutrition in India has been limited; in fact anaemia has increased,” it said.