KOZHIKODE: Kerala is far ahead in child health when compared to other states. But, malnourishment has put the state in the dock, with as high as 45 per cent of schoolchildren found to be undernourished in the state, according to a recent report.
The report, published by the Health Department, showed that out of the 58,052 school students who underwent the malnutrition test, 25,873 (44.57 per cent) were found to be underweight, while another 5,593 (9.63 per cent) were obese.
The study was conducted among students in all the 14 districts. Kasargod district came on top with the largest number of undernourished students. In the district, 54 per cent of the students were underweight. Palakkad and Wayanad were in the second and third position respectively.
Kozhikode district has a better track record with the lowest rate (35 per cent) of underweight students while Kannur lags behind the neighbouring district at 38.34 per cent. While checking obesity among children, Kozhikode district is in the top as 15.19 per cent of students were found to be. Palakkad registered a better track record (2.46 per cent), followed by Wayanad (3.23 pc).
However, Kozhikode District Medical Officer Dr V Jayasree said the figures mentioned in the report were doubtful. “I want to study the report in detail before commenting on it,” she said. However, the officer admitted malnutrition remained a major concern among students in the state. “Despite many child nutrition initiatives to counter such issues, the state is still facing the twin-problem of malnutrition and obesity. Kids, being both underweight as well as overweight, should be seen as a serious health issue,” she added.