VIJAYAWADA: Painting a grim picture, the report released by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has said almost 44 percent of school-going children in Kurnool district were suffering from stunted growth. In other districts in Andhra Pradeh where the children are suffering from a similar problem is over 31 percent, according to the report.
In the study conducted by NIN across the country on the children below the age of five years, it was found that a majority of the children were not well nourished, resulting in impediment of their growth. The main reason for the underdevelopment, according to the NIN report, was lack of nutritious food while they were in womb of their mother. “As the pregnant women are deprived of proper nutritious food, the children are underweight at birth, consequently they are lean and weak when they grow up.”
According to the report, Andhra Pradesh ranked 18th in the country for children’s hindered growth and disproportion in their age and size. With over 48 percent of the children suffering from stunted growth, Bihar ranked first, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 46 percent, Jharkhand and Meghalaya 45 percent.
In Andhra Pradesh there are almost 31.4 percent of the children are underdeveloped, while in Telangana ranked 24 in the country, it is 28.1 percent.
“Lactating mothers are not feeding their babies good enough, this is how the the growth hindrance occurs. The child must be breastfed for 6 months and then move onto other food along with breast milk. The child should continue to be breastfed up to 18-24 months,” said Dr Padmaja, a city-based nutritionist.
Similarly, the pregnant women should take healthy food like green leafy vegetables, eggs and fruits. But sadly, they are not taking proper food and not feeding the baby properly.
This has to be stopped, she added. Despite the State Government’s initiatives like Balamrutham for children up to five years of age and Anna Amrutha Hastham, which ensures that pregnant women and lactating mothers are given nutritious food at anganwadis, the nutrition levels among the women didn’t show up any improvement.
Speaking to Express, Krishna Kumari, project director of Women and Child Welfare, Krishna district, said, “We are strictly implementing all the government initiatives and supplying nutritious food. Anganwadi and Asha workers are visiting door-to-door and collecting the details of the pregnant women. They are coming to the anganwadi centres and having their midday meal. Similarly, for children below 5 years we provide Balamrutham.” “We aim for the healthy district, where women and children have access to healthy nutritious food. The survey report gave a grim picture. We have to identify the gaps and achieve to the fullest,” she added.