Sunday, May 22, 2022

Nutrition is Crucial

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 04, 2021 10:10 pm

Nutrition is universally regarded as the key to progress and thus becomes an important aspect of nation building. A country suffering from malnutrition cannot achieve anything big if the citizens are suffering from various diseases due to malnutrition. Quite strangely in India too, the issue of nutrition was largely neglected till 2016. For the first time a countrywide survey on nutrition was conducted that year and the outcome of the survey published later was shocking. The survey found that half of the Indian children below five years are either underweight or too short for their age. It further pointed out that malnutrition causes maximum damage during the first 1000 days of life and once the damage is done it cannot be cured. The survey report stressed that both mother and child should be provided adequate nutrition to build a healthy nation. Alarmed by the report, the Government of India initiated a programme called ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ to eradicate the menace of malnutrition by 2022. So far, the progress of the programme is satisfactory; but still there is much more to do to create a malnutrition-free nation within the stipulated time frame.

It is unfortunate that when the Poshan Abhiyan was gaining ground, the Covid-19 pandemic stalled the progress. Children couldn’t get nutritious food under various midday meal schemes for months. Besides, those who were associated with the initiative got busy in combating the pandemic. It is anticipated that the after effect of the pandemic may harm an additional nine million children below five years. It must be noted that malnutrition is no less dangerous than life-threatening diseases. In India, malnutrition causes 68 per cent deaths of children below five years. Unlike other diseases, malnutrition should be prevented straight from the beginning to avoid its deadly effect. Researchers say that malnutrition severely hampers the growth of a child. The child falls behind others at an early age as malnutrition causes both physical and mental damages. A child affected by malnutrition cannot concentrate on studies or any other work and more likely not to contribute anything towards nation building. Besides, the child’s ability to do strenuous jobs also gets affected. There is no gainsaying that any development can’t be meaningful if such a vast section of the population continues to fall sick due to malnutrition.

The only silver-lining is that the menace can be confronted with proper awareness and adequate caution. To ward off the threat of malnutrition, the most important task is to provide enough nutrition to the mother from the early stages of pregnancy. Secondly, after the birth of the baby it should be ensured that the newborn gets proper nutrition. For this, mothers should be taught about the importance of breastfeeding. Immunisation of the children should be done properly. There are few indicators to monitor the growth of a child and children should be tested regularly. It is heartening to note that the Government of India is keen to end malnutrition. The citizen should stand beside the authority to make the endeavour a success. 

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 04, 2021 10:10:52 pm