According to the reports of a leading Indian NGO called CRY, most children in India under the age of 2 years do not have access to good quality food and adequate nutrition. The NGO based their report on the figures of the recent data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) (2015-16 which shows that Nine out of 10 children in the age group of 6 to 23 months do not receive an adequate diet. This data is very disappointing as kids who do not have a healthy start and are under-nourished bear the brunt of it in adulthood. According to Komal Ganotra, Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy for CRY (Child Rights and You),"Illnesses in children and lack of adequate and appropriate nutrition is a vicious cycle which needs constant attention through preventive as well as promotive approaches.”It has been further recorded that four out of five worst performing states when it comes to a child’s diet are from North India. Rajasthan is at the bottom where only about three per cent children have access to good food and in Uttar Pradesh the figure is slightly higher where five per cent children are well nourished. As far as the National capital is concerned, despite being one of the most equipped cities, only six per cent of the children in the city receive proper nutrition. Even Tamil Nadu which has the highest percentage of children receiving adequate nutrition, the number does not cross 31 per cent.
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Ganotra also attributes this to the health of the mothers and says that the child’s health depends on the nutrition supplied to him or her in the mother’s womb. But the figures in this case too are dismal. Fifty per cent of the pregnant women (15-49 years) were found to be anaemic according to the NFHS-4 and only 21 per cent received complete antenatal care. Poor health of mothers is affecting the physical as well as the mental development of their children. (Also read: 5 Common Myths About Nutrition During Pregnancy)"The Integrated Child Development Scheme, which addresses nutritional needs of children in an early age (under 6) and expectant mothers, has the right intent to ensure a solid foundation for children when maximum brain development occurs.It is non-negotiable for the state to ensure adequate budget and robust implementation mechanism for greater convergence of health and nutrition services for every child in the country," Ganotra concluded. Inputs from PTI
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