If you see two children playing near your house, then in all probability, one of them will be undernourished!
Every sixth undernourished child in India lives in UP (around 10 million), every second child in UP is undernourished while only one in 14 newborns is breast fed within one hour of birth in the state, reveal statistics.
Collectively, these facts are responsible for a high underfive mortality, which, in UP is 94/1,000 as per the Annual Health Survey (AHS). The state ranks 29th in terms of Vitamin A supplement dose being given to children in the age group of 12-23 months, states the infant survival and development report card prepared by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India.
“You would find that UP also ranks 29th only when it comes to administration of ORS to children with diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of childhood deaths,” said Dr Neelam Singh of Vatsalya.
Experts say development of a child till the age of 5 years determines how he or she would perform in the rest of their lives.
“Under-nutrition during the first two years impairs both intelligence and strength. Child malnutrition occurs entirely during the first two years and is virtually irreversible after that,” added Dr Singh.
Optimal feeding practices during the first year of life are critical to ensure optimal health among young children.
According to the WHO, 60% of all deaths under the age of 5 are related to malnutrition. Inappropriate feeding practices are related to two-thirds of all under-five deaths, and majority kids in UP unfortunately do not get proper feeding.