Global Nutrition Report: India faces Burdens of Malnutrition
The Global Nutrition Report, launched in November 2014, tracks worldwide progress for all 193 UN countries in improving their nutrition status. By bringing together data on more than 80 nutrition indicators (including programme coverage, underlying determinants such as food security and water, sanitation and hygiene, resource allocations, and political commitments), the report aims to contribute to country-led efforts to strengthen accountability and accelerate the reduction of malnutrition. There is a pressing need for strong leadership across society – in government, civil society, research, private foundations, and business – to achieve this goal. Almost every country in the world, rich or poor, faces a serious public health risk due to malnutrition, either from under nutrition, obesity, or micronutrient deficiencies.
New preliminary data from India (2013-2-14 Rapid Survey on Children, RSOC) suggest a faster improvement in the reduction of malnutrition than anticipated – stunting for under fives may have declined by over 10 million! Yet, with the lowest rank among 100 countries, India is vulnerable on sanitation and other underlying determinants for under nutrition.
Smt. Arti Ahuja, Secretary of the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Odisha (and member of the Independent Expert Group for the Global Nutrition Report) stated that “Reduction of under nutrition requires concerted action across the board. Many states in India have made significant interventions in this regard, and the positive results are becoming visible now.”
“The Global Nutrition Report aims to contribute to country-led efforts to strengthen accountability, share learning about what is working, and highlight bottlenecks to progress and how they may be overcome,” said Mr. Lawrence Haddad, a co-author of the Global Nutrition Report and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The benefits of improved nutrition cascade through the lifecycle and across generations, which is why the costs of failing to act are tragically high for all countries. This requires developing stronger accountability mechanisms with better data, more transparency and stronger feedback systems as a vital step towards intensifying commitment and making sure these mechanisms improve nutrition status. This report is a critical first step in that direction.
The GNR Round Table events are a series of engagement opportunities for countries to use the report as an advocacy tool to highlight country-specific nutrition issues. The event focused on the role of multi-sectoral approaches towards addressing key issues and determinants of malnutrition. The Report highlights the progress India seems to be making on reducing child under nutrition.