Globally the number of deaths among children under five is attributed to
severe wasting, stunting and intrauterine growth restriction constitute the
largest proportion of all risk factors in this age group and are responsible
for 2.2 million deaths (Lancet, Jan 2008). Studies have also shown that
suboptimal breast feeding (i.e. non-exclusive) in the first 6 months of life
leads to 1.4 million deaths a year in under five year old children.
Further, a large proportion of infants are thin and small at 1-2 years of age largely due to
inappropriate complementary food during 6 to 24 months of age. India has one of the
highest low birth weight rates (about 30%) in the world, largely due to intrauterine growth
restriction. These events are associated with the usual consequences of malnutrition such
as high morbidity and mortality and poor cognitive function.