NEW DELHI: As the State of The World’s Children report by the UNICEF released on Tuesday said that over 200 million children under five are either undernourished or overweight, experts have urged the Centre and states to upgrade the quality of food being offered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme.
Under the Union Women and Child Development Ministry’s flagship scheme, energy-dense blended food is provided as take home ration to children 7 months to 3 years. “While this food has stipulated amount of calories, a large chunk of it comes from high sugar in it and it’s not very healthy — which is not helping the cause of tackling malnutrition in the country,” said Shariqua Yunus Khan, nutrition head at the UN-World Food Programme.
The UNICEF report said an alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them and every one in three children under 5 is malnourished. The report also says that India’s figures are among the worst in the South Asia.
The recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey in India shows that 35 per cent of children under five are stunted, 17 per cent are wasted and 33 per cent are underweight. Only 42 per cent of children (6 to 23 months) are fed at adequate frequency and only 21 per cent are fed an adequately diverse diet, it notes.