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Opinion

The fifth NFHS shows an increase in malnutrition and obesity – health

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The ministry of family health and wellness released the first set of findings from the fifth and final round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), conducted in 2019-20, on Saturday. The survey was carried out after an interval of about three years. The first set of findings has been published for only 22 states and territories in the Union, which together are home to nearly half the country’s population. It includes large states such as Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal, but does not include the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. Data collection for the survey was reportedly suspended in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the final report with data for all states is expected to be ready in another six months.

Increase in malnutrition among children

The most alarming finding of the latest NFHS is infant nutrition. NFHS 4, which took place in 2015-16, saw a drop in levels of child malnutrition. These gains appear to have been reversed, NFHS 5 findings show. The proportion of children who were stunted (short for their age) increased in 13 states, while the proportion of children who were underweight for their height increased in 12 states. .

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The proportion of underweight and overweight children also increased in 16 and 20 states, respectively. These four are common indicators of malnutrition and malnutrition among children. Undoubtedly, another indicator, the under-five mortality rate (refers to the probability of dying between birth and five years of age expressed per 1,000 live births), decreased in 18 of the 22 states for which the data has been published.

More Indians are obese and anemic

The latest round of the survey reported a higher proportion of men and women who were overweight or obese. The proportion of obese men increased in 19 of the 22 states and territories in the Union for which data were available. The proportion of obese women increased by 16. Among the major states and UT, the proportion of obese women increased the most in Karnataka, by 6.8 percentage points, and the proportion of obese men increased the most in Jammu and Kashmir, by 11.1 percentage points. Certainly, the ratio of underweight men and women decreased during this period in most states.

The proportion of Indians with anemia, a condition in which a person lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to body tissues and can make a person feel tired and weak, also increased between the last two rounds of the survey in a majority. of the states. Some states experienced a very significant increase in anemic people, such as Assam, where the proportion of anemic women increased by 20 percentage points. Among the major states, the proportion of anemic men and women was the highest in West Bengal, while Gujarat had the highest proportion of anemic children.

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Better home comforts

The proportion of households that have access to some basic services, some of them promoted under various flagship government schemes, has increased in most states between the last two rounds of the survey, which also roughly coincide with the beginning and end by Narendra. First term of the government led by Modi. The proportion of the population living in households with electricity increased in 19 states; the proportion of the population living in households with improved drinking water sources increased in 20 states; the proportion of the population living in households with improved sanitation facilities increased in 21 states; and the proportion of households using clean fuel for cooking increased in all 22 states and UT. Median values ​​for these indicators for all states for which data were provided show a significant increase in households with improved sanitary or sanitary facilities and those using clean cooking fuel. But the numbers also suggest that much more needs to be done.

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For example, more than a quarter of the population (median value) still use unclean fuel despite the government’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana exceeding its goal of giving 80 million free LPG connections to poor households. Similarly, data from the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission shows that every household in India has access to a toilet, but data from the latest survey shows that a quarter of the population lives in households (median value) that they do not have an upgraded toilet for exclusive use. although they may be using a common installation to several households.

Hindustan Times

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