India still struggling to fight anaemia
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Oct. 8: The recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) indicate that anaemia continues to be a major public health problem in the country.
MoHWS conducted the survey, in collaboration with Unicef, to collect a comprehensive set of data on nutritional status of Indian children from 0-19 years of age. Globally, this survey was the largest micronutrient survey to be conducted. It also used gold standard methods to assess anaemia, micronutrient deficiencies and biomarkers of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for the first time in India, the report stated.
CNNS was conducted in all 30 states of India during 2016-2018. CNNS included three population groups: pre-schoolers (0-4 years), school-age children (5-9 years) and adolescents (10-19 years) in rural and urban areas, it stated.
The report showed that malnutrition, which encompasses both under-nutrition and overweight and obesity, continues to be a challenge in the country. (Refer graph)
The estimated 447 million persons with anaemia, causes India to contribute almost one quarter to the global burden as calculated by the Global Burden of Disease in 2016, the report stated.
41% of pre-schoolers aged 1-4 years, 24% of school-age children aged 5-9 years and 28% of adolescents aged 10-19 years, had some degree of anaemia. Among pre-schoolers, the prevalence of anaemia was highest in Madhya Pradesh (54%), followed by Haryana (48%) and Delhi (47%) and was lowest in Nagaland (8%) and Manipur (10%) (Refer map).
Tripura (41%), Assam (35%) and Jharkhand (34%) and West Bengal (34%) had the highest prevalence of anaemia among school-age children while Kerala (3%), Jammu & Kashmir (7%) and Manipur (7%) had the lowest prevalence. Among adolescents, West Bengal (46%), Tripura (41%) and Assam (37%) had the highest prevalence of anaemia, while Nagaland (8%) and Kerala (9%) had the lowest prevalence, the report indicated.
Nagaland showed a considerably low percent micronutrient deficiency among children in the north-eastern states, while states like Manipur and Mizoram indicated a moderately high percentage.
Furthermore, the report indicated that there is a growing risk of NCDs among children aged 5 to 9 years and adolescents aged 10-19 years in India. One in ten school-age children and adolescents were pre-diabetic and one percent of school-age children and adolescents were diabetic. Three percent of school-age children and four percent of adolescents had high total cholesterol and high low-density lipoprotein.
High percentage of mothers with no formal education
CNNS also found that the percentage of mothers with no formal education was high across the three age groups. According to the survey, 31% of mothers of children aged 0-4 years, 42% of mothers of children aged 5-9 years, and 53% of mothers of adolescents aged 10-19 years never attended school.
In five out of nine Empowered Action Group (EAG) states (Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh), mothers or caregivers of less than 50% of children aged 0-4 years were not exposed to any type of mass media (read a newspaper or magazine, listened to the radio or watched television, at least weekly), the report said.
A much larger proportion of mothers/caregivers (more than 80%) were exposed to at least one form of mass media in all five south Indian states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana), in addition to Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Sikkim.
Nagaland had less than 60% exposure while Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh indicated more than 70%. Assam and Meghalaya had the lowest exposure percentage among the north-eastern states with less than 50%.
“Based on an assessment of self-reported weekly food consumption from the respondent or mother/caregiver of the respondent, the majority (54%-56%) of participants in the three age groups were vegetarian, more than one-third (36%-39%) were non-vegetarian, and a small proportion (6%-9%) consumed eggs along with a vegetarian diet,” the report stated.