|Child in Agra - India|
42 percent of Indian children under five are malnourished and 59 percent of them suffer from a stoppage or slowdown in growth. Those are two of the data that emerge from research called Hungama - Hunger and malnutrition, and conducted by the National Foundation Naandi in 112 districts (click here to read the full report).
The survey notes that the prevalence of malnutrition is significantly higher among children from low-income families. It found that children from Muslim or SC/ST households generally had worse nutrition indicators, but malnutrition is very important also in families in the medium and even high-income.
The vast majority of underweight children had a birth weight less than the minimum specified by the international standards of health and it due tothat because of malnutrition of the mothers during pregnancy.
The report also showed that - even in poor families - child malnutrition is lower if the mother's education level is higher. 11 per cent mothers said they used soap to wash hands before a meal and 19 per cent do so after a visit to the toilet.
The fact that the percentage of malnourished children since the last survey (2004) has been reduced from 53 to 42 percent is not very positive in a country knowing as "Shining India" with an incredible annual GDP PIN increase and in a country where is the most important (and expensive) program in the world for the development of children, however, it is undermined by corruption and inefficiency. In fact the findings were described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “national shame”. Despite impressive growth in India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent years, the level of under-nutrition is unacceptably high, he said. As if Mr. Singh came down from Mars, actually he is ruling this country for years and determines the choices of economic policy and resource allocation as the first Minister of Economy and now as Prime Minister.