Despite being tagged as the ‘fastest-growing economy’, India is still slipping into the nefarious circle of malnutrition. Blame it on absolute poverty, one in four children suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Malnutrition not only influences the country economically but also socially. And to fight against this vicious problem, Government of India led by Narendra Modi has decided to commemorate every year September as – National Nutrition Month. This decision of observing the month as ‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah’ was undertaken in July this year during the second meeting of the National Council.
Statistics that unravels the status of malnutrition in India
This initiative is going to prove immensely fruitful as the statistics of malnutrition in India is alarming. A joint study undertaken by ASSOCHAM–EY reveals that India is housing about 50% of undernourished children of the world. Even National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 highlighted the fact that 35.7% of children under five years are underweight, 38.4% are stunted and 21% is wasted in the country. It is absolutely disheartening to witness that only 1 child among 10 children in the age group of 6-23 months gets an adequate diet. Above all, India has the largest number of deaths of children under five years of age, among which 50% are caused because of malnutrition.
In fact, there is a gamut of reasons that burden the country with under-nutrition. The Global Nutrition Report 2017, highlighted three important forms of malnutrition – childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age, and overweight adult women. The study furthermore stated that about 51% of women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia that extremely affects the mother as well as the child. Along with this, about 22% of adult women are overweight, which has also become a rising concern.
Who will be benefitted the most?
But with National Nutrition Month, we can expect a ray of hope as it aims to subdue stunting of children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022. Not just this, but this initiative is going to focus on abolishing the main deficiencies that pregnant women, adolescent girls and lactating mothers are engulfed in! Several women continue to stay uneducated, underage for marriage, do not receive proper antenatal care, improper sanitation, no health care services and ineffective nutrition programmes. But to outmanoeuvre malnutrition it is imperative to train women in terms of education, adequate diet, toilet, cleanliness, kitchen hygiene, etc.
Activities to sensitize the initiative
Furthermore, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is primarily going to work on eight focused themes like antenatal care, complementary feeding, sanitation and hygiene, optimal breastfeeding, food fortification, growth monitoring, education for girls, healthy diet, the right age for marriage, etc. With this, the Government believes that it will help boost the nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers. And to make this month a huge success, Government is also undertaking various activities on the state, district and on the village level. Through technology, there will be a targeted approach to build a healthy nation by covering 36 States and Union Territories and 718 districts in phases till 2020. There’ll be workshops and demonstrations for school teachers, Anganwadi workers and helpers, village women and Mahila samitis to come up with low-cost nutritious recipes and showcase the importance of nutrition. Mini exhibitions are going to play a vital role at grass root level as they will showcase pocket-friendly nutritious diets for various age groups. Quiz competition, preparation of nutritious recipes, audio-visuals, puppet shows, skit, dance are some of the activities that will be a part of the awareness program. Above all, over 100 community radio stations are all set to spread awareness of Poshan Abhiyaan!
Prevention is better than cure!
Above all, you can also start taking preventive measures by having a balanced diet. A diet that has iron, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, protein is not only healthy but utterly nutritious. And all these nutrients are found in dry fruits and nuts like almonds, dates, cashews, walnuts, raisins, etc. If dates and cashews are rich in iron then almonds and walnuts are rich in Vitamins. Amidst this, healthy mothers play a pivotal role in suppressing malnutrition. And the first step towards a healthy lifestyle is the intake of folate acid, which protects the baby from deficiencies. So, dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, pistachios are a saviour as they are rich in folate acid. Also, many tribals in MP have also undertaken dry fruit cultivation to put an end to malnutrition.
So, to support the cause of healthy living, we at Ambrosia Nuts have also decided to do our bit by spreading awareness about nutrition. Thus, for the month of September, we have tied up with Nutritionists and Chefs from all over India to bring you Diet Charts and Healthy Food Recipes. Do check them out at: