The survey was carried out and released by Naandi Foundation and members of the Citizens’ Alliance against Malnutrition (CAAM).
New Delhi: Over 20 per cent children under five years of age in 10 urban cities were stunted, with Delhi recording the worst performance of 30.6 per cent.
The findings were a part of a survey report, called Urban HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) that captured the nutrition status of children aged between 0-59 months, in ten most populous cities. The survey was carried out and released by Naandi Foundation and members of the Citizens’ Alliance against Malnutrition (CAAM). In all, 22.3 per cent of children under five years of age were stunted and the prevalence of stunting ranged from 14.8 per cent in Chennai to 30.6 per cent in Delhi. Stunting was significantly higher among children whose mothers had five years of schooling or less.
A total of 12,286 mothers were interviewed and 14,616 children were measured for height and weight in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Surat, Bengaluru, Pune, and Jaipur.
“Urban areas present an entirely different set of challenges when it comes to child nutrition — lack of space resulting in miserable hygiene and sanitation, absent anganwadi centres, nuclear families with parents working long hours, easier access to junk and adulterated food, and so on,” said the report. The proportion of the children born with low birth weight (i.e less than 2.5 kg) was 15.7 per cent, ranging from 13.5 per cent in Hyderabad to 25.1 per cent in Kolkata.
While Chennai had better indices overall, Jaipur fared worst in many parameters.
The report was released by four political leaders — BJD MP Jay Panda, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, Congress leaders Sachin Pilot, and Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav — who are members of CAAM. “While India has been improving over the years, the malnutrition has not been decreasing at the same pace. What is important is that both the Union and state governments treat the continuing scourge of malnutrition very seriously,” said Mr Panda.
He added that India is rapidly urbanising and “the fact that we have already not eradicated it by now in urban areas should tell us that our progress is far too slow.”