A nation-wide survey on the nutritional status of Indian kids and adolescents by the ministry of health and family welfare, in collaboration with Unicef, has not only found Bengal ahead of several states in a number of key performance indicators but also doing better than the national average in certain aspects of child nutrition.
The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, however, recorded prevalence of high total cholesterol and prediabetes among Bengal children of 5 to 9 years and adolescents of 10 to 19 years. Among adolescents, the prevalence of pre-diabetic fasting plasma glucose levels was more than in 21% kids in Bengal, similar to that in Manipur, Kerala, Sikkim and Mizoram.
The study was carried out to collect a set of data on nutritional status of Indian children of 0 to 19 years and the shifting conditions of both under-nutrition and overweight.
The findings, when compared to previous data from studies conducted by the Union health ministry, revealed that Bengal had recorded a sharp drop in the number of children below five years with stunted growth, in the percentage of underweight kids under five years and low prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency as well as iron deficiency among kids of 0-19 years. “The rate of decline of stunted growth among kids in Bengal was 19.3% in 2005-2018, while the national figure was 13.3%. The rate of decline of underweight kids in Bengal was 7.8%, while the national percentage was 9.1%. This shows that our sustained efforts in providing the right nutrition to children at grassroots level are paying dividends,” said Shashi Panja, minister of state (independent charge), Women and Child Development and Social Welfare who attended an event to release The State of the World’s Children 2019 Report by Unicef. Stunting in early life can have long-term effect on health, physical and cognitive development, learning and earning potential.
Prevalence of iron deficiency in the state among all the surveyed age group was found below 22%, while Punjab and Gujrat topped the chart. Similarly, the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency is also low. In Sikkim and Bengal, over 20% school-age kids and adolescents had high total cholesterol, while the national average is above 10%.
“We are adopting new techniques to improve the overall nutrition profile in Bengal,” said Panja.
Source: Times of India