Addressing Nutrition One Step at a Time
My work takes me to connect the corporate world with several social developmental causes concerning India today. Rampant malnutrition among Indian children is one of them. Although it kinds of seem unfair to favor one cause over another because every cause has something to do with comprehensive development of our nation on economic, social and environmental terms, and thus demands attention. In the last decade, CSR initiatives around children development related causes especially education and childhood protection, have increased considerably and rightly so. However, the same trend has not been reflected when ‘Nutrition’ as a cause is brought over the philanthropic agendas for many. Reality check for malnutrition among Indian children reveals some horrible facts around their compromised compromised development.
- Mal-nutrition costs India 8.5 million lives every year, leading to 4% of loss in GDP, costing almost USD 29 billion.
- Indian is ranked 67th in Global Hunger Index development by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), UK.
- India shares the spot with countries of sub-Sahara Africa where prevalence on malnutrition is at an alarming stage.
- 5% children in India share the category of low birth weight babies (less than 2.5 kg at birth) as estimated by NFHS 3.
In general, factors which are attributed to the abysmal child hunger and malnutrition scenario are; extreme poverty, lack of livelihood opportunities & food security, poor water, sanitation and hygiene practices, illiteracy among women, gender disparity and poor health services. Madhya Pardesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar are the worst performing Indian states where child hunger and malnutrition is extremely prevalent.
The need of the hour is to address Nutrition, one step at a time. Nutritional food is the right of every child. I highly recommend corporates to adopt initiatives around nutrition, as the championing cause and take hold of the worsening situation. I hope the recently introduced CSR amendment will bring nutrition under the fold of CSR commitments and improve the lives for millions of Indian children for good.