Vol. 1, Issue 11, Part K (2015)
Nutritional levels of Anganwadi children: A sociological study
Sustainable human development of any country depends on its women and children. Children are the assets of every country. Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens of the country. Therefore concrete and able future depends on the health of the children. Healthy children make healthy nation. Unfortunately most of the children in developing countries are facing acute problem of ill-health and malnourishment. The problems of malnourishment among children more found in our country. Since Independence, every government is trying to save the children from malnutrition. It has evolved hundreds of programme to combat the ill health and malnourishment among children. It is important to note that ‘Pre-school children are one of the most nutritionally vulnerable segments of the population. Nutrition during the first five years has an impact not only on growth ad morbidity during childhood, but also acts as a determinant of nutritional status in adolescent and adult life. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of at least 50 per cent of deaths of children under ﬁve. Even if it does not lead to death, malnutrition, including micronutrient deﬁciencies, often leads to permanent damage, including impairment of physical growth and mental development. For example, iron, folic acid and iodine deﬁciencies can lead to brain damage, neural tube defects in the newborn and mental retardation.rnIndeed, malnutrition is a national shame and a curse that needs to be rooted out from our country whose national treasure is its people, and whose future lies in the hands of its children. Ignoring the well-being and health of the future generations due to hunger and malnutrition would be crippling to future generations, which would cost the nation dear. In fact, M.S. Swaminathan goes as far as to say that after more than sixty years as an independent nation, we still have large numbers of women and children who are suffering from malnutrition, and the cost to our nation in terms of health, well-being and economic development is tremendous. Even as India continues to take tremendous leaps in the arenas of information technology, science, among others, which, some argue, has led to the unprecedented economic growth in the country, there are some issues including growing poverty and inequality that are a major concern. On the Human Development Index, for the year 2013, India ranked a lowly 135 among 169 countries. The findings of the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) reveals an unacceptable prevalence of malnutrition in our children:-42.5% of our children under the age of ﬁve years are underweight (low weight for age) -48 % of our children are stunted (low height for age – chronically malnourished) -19.8 % of our children are wasted (low weight for height – acutely malnourished)In poorer states the situation is even worse with over 50 % of children underweight the issue of poor nutrition causing other health problems in the country, including high infant mortality rate and malnutrition is extremely pressing. In fact, the lack of progress over the past decade and the current high levels of malnutrition have led to India being recognized as having, perhaps, the worst malnutrition problem in the world.