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India climbed up the Global Hunger index to record better rates

Posted:  Thursday, October 15, 2015

India has been striving hard to improve health based indicators in the country and it seems like the effort put in during the past decade is bearing sweet fruit. India improved its global hunger index score from 38.5 in 2005 to 29 in 2015. A lower number means fewer people going hungry. Additionally, India was 80th among 104 countries in the global rankings (from least hungry to the most hungry).

The International Food Policy Research Institute; Concern Worldwide, a humanitarian organisation; and Welthungerhilfe, a Germany-based relief group published the report. The global rankings measured undernourishment defined as the percentage of the population consuming fewer than 1,800 calories each day as well as three indicators relating to childhood nutrition and life expectancy.

According to the authors, India’s successes can be attributed to its unrelenting fight against child undernutrition and scaling up the Integrated Child Development Services programme to improve health and nutrition of children. The report also finds that in India, the proportion of wasting in children fell from 20% in 2005 to 15% in 2014 whereas the number of stunted children fell from 48% to 39%.

However, not everything is a pretty picture. The report finds that the progress has been uneven across the 29 Indian states. They find that 15% of 1.2 billion people still don’t get enough calories. Moreover, more than half of India’s population defecate in the open. Commenting on this disparity, the authors said, “While the reasons for the improvements—or lack thereof—are not entirely clear, one factor that seems to correlate with undernutrition in India is open defecation, which contributes to illnesses that prevent the absorption of nutrients.”

The report highlights how India is on the right path to eradicate hunger and improve child nutrition. However, despite these efforts, the proportion of hunger is still unacceptably high. Thus, sustained efforts and programmes are needed to achieve equal and widespread reduction in undernutrition.

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