MP has highest percentage of anaemic kids, thin adolescents in country

54 per cent of kids between 1-4 years of age in Madhya Pradesh are anaemic

India Pollution Representative image | PTI

Madhya Pradesh, already under the national glare for poor health and nutrition indices among children, has new angles to worry about with the latest national level nutrition survey showing that the state has the highest percentage of anaemic kids below five years of age as well as the highest percentage of thin adolescents.

Worryingly, the survey found that 13 per cent of children in Madhya Pradesh are pre-diabetic, against the national average of 10 per cent.

The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) released on Monday by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the first-ever comprehensive national level nutrition survey for children and adolescents (age group 0-19 years). The survey for the duration of 2016-17 was conducted between February 2016 and October 2018 with the support of experts including those of UNICEF.

The CNNS shows that about 54 per cent of kids in Madhya Pradesh in age group of one to four years are anaemic, compared to the 41 per cent national average. Similarly, 32 per cent of adolescents (10-19 years) in the state are moderately or severely thin, compared to the national average of 24 per cent.

As for the anaemic status of older children and adolescents, the scenario in MP is better than the national average. In the 5-9 years age group, 22 per cent are anaemic in the state compared to 24 per cent in the country, while in 10-19 years age group, 21 per cent are anaemic in MP compared to 29 per cent in India.

Experts consider anaemia in children as a grave cause of worry as it has adverse effects, especially in the first two years of life, such as behavioural delay, reduced cognitive development like impaired learning and decreased scholastic achievements, low immunity and growth weight, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, lethargy, increased mortality, and susceptibility to infection.

Thinness is a sign of poor health and nutrition status and it is additionally worrisome among adolescents, as for them it takes place during the growth period, with a long-term impact on adult-stage health and working capacity, experts say.

Malnutrition burden reduces

Meanwhile, the survey shows that compared to National Family Health Survey-4 for the duration of 2015-16, the malnutrition burden in Madhya Pradesh as well as in the country has reduced.

According to the survey, stunting amongst children under five years of age in MP has gone down to 40 per cent from the 42 per cent stated in NFHS-4. Wasting has gone down from 26 per cent to 20 per cent while the percentage of underweight children has gone down from 43 per cent to 39 per cent.

At the national level, the levels of stunting reduced from 38.4 per cent to 34.7 per cent; levels of wasting came down from 21 per cent to 17.3 per cent and that of underweight category from 35.7 per cent to 33.4 per cent.

The principal secretary of health of Madhya Pradesh, Pallavi Jain Govil, was not immediately available for comments.