According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India is among the 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. The report also identified the country as one with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.
What are Global Nutrition Targets?
In 2012, the World Health Assembly – the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation – identified six nutrition targets to be met by 2025. They are:
1. Reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5.
2. Reduce the prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years.
3. Ensure a 30% reduction in low-birth-weight.
4. Ensure no increase in childhood overweight.
5. Increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%
6. Reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.
What is India’s status in the Global Malnutrition Report 2020?
According to the Global Malnutrition Report 2020, India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available. These indicators include – Stunting among under-5 children, Anaemia among women of reproductive age, Childhood overweight and Exclusive breastfeeding. According to the data available on stunting and wasting among children in the country, 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively. Additionally, stunting prevalence is 10.1% higher in rural areas compared to urban areas.
Moreover, Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men. There is nearly double as many obese adult females than there are males (5.1% compared to 2.7%). Anaemia is also highly prevalent in the country with one in two women of reproductive age being anaemic.
There is an improvement seen in the number of underweight children in the country. Between 2000 and 2016, rates of underweight have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls.
CSR projects targeted to fight malnutrition in India
Reliance Nutrition Gardens
Reliance Foundation has been helping communities set up small kitchen or backyard gardens, known as Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNGs). These are scientifically-developed, low cost, organic kitchen gardens that use a multi-tier cropping system to accommodate a variety of fruits and vegetables that help improve health and nutritional parameters among farmer families across villages in India. The foundation has collaborated with the Maharashtra Government to improve the nutrition status of more than two lakh children in Anganwadis.
Aarogya – Tata Motors
Tata Motors is addressing the problem of malnutrition under its health programme ‘Aarogya’. The company under its CSR program has set up malnutrition treatment centres in Jamshedpur where severely malnourished infants and children who are between 0-6 years of age are medically treated so that they achieve normal health as per World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols. The program focusses on maternal and child health, with a holistic and balanced approach towards preventive healthcare and curative healthcare interventions. The Company has tied up with nutrition rehabilitation centres across India to raise awareness on the health of children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. The firm has been providing nutritious breakfast, holding sessions for pregnant and lactating women and organising awareness drives to reduce the rate of malnutrition. The entire programme not only takes care of the children until there is an improvement in their health but also ensures that prerequisite care is taken thereafter too.
Healthy Baby Wealthy Nation – HDFC Standard Life Insurance
Addressing the pressing need to improve the situation of child health and nutrition, since February 2015, HDFC Standard Life Insurance has undertaken a project in 6 districts of West Bengal to improve the nutritional status of 0-5-year-olds through a three-year-long, comprehensive approach of generating community awareness on child health and nutrition, use of safe drinking water and sanitary latrines in the target communities. Along with its implementation partner, it has organized regular health forums and household level beneficiary counselling that emphasized on safe motherhood, child nutrition, newborn care, breastfeeding, immunization, sanitation, etc, thereby increasing awareness among the rural communities. The project has reached out to a total of 113,182 households and 50,245 under-five children and succeeded in bringing a significant reduction in the prevalence of malnutrition (wasting) from 19 to 4 per cent in the targeted communities.
Nestle Healthy Kids Programme
In order to solidify its commitment to promote nutrition, health and wellbeing among adolescents, Nestlé launched ‘The Healthy Kids Programme in 2009 all over the world. The programme mainly focuses on promoting the understanding of a balanced diet, healthy eating habits, awareness of food and personal hygiene and regular exercises in the form of some physical activity like sports and games.
For its execution, Nestle CSR collaborates with other partners with a common cause who have the expertise in the local conditions to create real impact and bring about a real change in the life of the community where the company operates. The company is implementing this programming in two modes:
1. Conduct Classroom sessions in partnership with Six Regional Universities
The classroom sessions are conducted in partnership with Universities through the Department of Home Science and Food Science, wherein information on the nutrition status of the local food habits is collected through their extension activities and the programme content is developed jointly with Nestlé India team. Each student receives nutrition training – encouraging them to eat more vegetables and fruits, ensuring their meals are as nutritious and diversified as possible. Pre and post programme behavioural and knowledge tests are conducted to measure the effectiveness of learning and implementation.
2. Partnering with Magic Bus India foundation that has pioneered the ‘Sports for Development’ model
Embracing the non-traditional learning method of ‘sports for development’, implementing partner Magic Bus India Foundation, engages with the adolescents in interactive sessions in which they receive nutrition knowledge and are encouraged to play regularly. By their very nature, sports is about participation, inclusion and a sense of belonging, and as a result of the Magic Bus sessions, the entire community comes together to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Till 2019, over 3 lakh adolescents across 23 states have been encouraged to live healthier lives through Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme.
Mondelez India’s National CSR Program – ‘Shubh Aarambh’
The national community program of Mondelez India Foods Private Ltd. ‘Shubh Aarambh’ focuses on the integrated development of children to foster nutrition/health education, promote education and address social issues impacting young people, gender equality and support young people to become better citizens. The programme has a multi-pronged approach with a focus on three key areas: health and nutrition as part of the child’s holistic development, encouraging healthy living and encouraging kitchen gardens. Keeping the child’s needs at the centre of the activity, the programme execution teams work with parents, educators and community health workers to provide health and nutrition support in the early years; education, sports/physical and social development in later years and equip young people to make them more employable. The implementing partners for the programme include three NGOs: Save the children, Magic Bus, and AFPRO. In five years since its implementation, the program has a footprint in eight states, touched the lives of about 100,000 beneficiaries including children, youth, mothers, and teachers in and around the company’s manufacturing and cocoa operations in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
AMWAY India’s POWER of 5 Campaign
POWER of 5 by AMWAY India is a community-based campaign targeted at mothers and caregivers of children under the age of 5 years. It aims to improve the nutritional knowledge and practices inclusive of complementary feeding, hygiene practices, growth monitoring, and dietary diversity. The campaign further aims to identify and manage the malnourished children, and those with infections, by developing synergies among the service providers of associated departments (Integrated Child Development Scheme, Health and Sanitation) for improved services and timely referrals.
In its pilot phase, the program was launched in Kirari, an urban slum and resettlement colony of North West Delhi. Over 9,700 children were surveyed under the age of five years and came across that most of the children were grappling with a huge nutritional gap with 17% children wasted, 31% underweight and 46% stunted. Out of 9,700 children, 1700 were wasted and were identified for further monitoring through the entire course of the program. The results at the end of the campaign were startling and at the same time encouraging highlighting that number of children in the Wasted category dropped from 1700 to 328 (79% drop), in the Underweight category dropped from 1236 to 455 (44% drop) and in the Stunted category dropped from 750 to 484 (14% drop).
By 2019, the ‘Power of 5’ program benefitted 10,000 children under-five and over 30,000 mothers and caregivers by offering holistic solutions to create awareness and implementing educational interventions. ASHA workers, ANM and Anganwadi workers were sensitized to drive the behaviour change among the parents and communities by establishing synergies for timely and inclusive service deliveries to the identified beneficiaries. The program also significantly improved infant breastfeeding practices, vaccination coverage, Vitamin A dosage and deworming coverage.