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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 269-279

Trends of malnutrition from 1947-2021 among under-five children in India

1 Department of Home Science (Foods and Nutrition), University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Food Technology, Vivekananda College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Paediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Shivani Rohatgi
1/9380 West Rohtash Nagar Street No. 7 Shahdara, New Delhi - 110 032
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmrp.cmrp_43_21

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Context: Malnutrition is a silent emergency and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality amongst children under 5 years of age. There are intra and inter-generational consequences of malnutrition. Aim: To study the trends of prevalence of malnutrition among under-five children in India since its independence. Subjects and Methods: The trends in malnutrition indicators from 1947 to 2021 in India through 40 studies out of 186 descriptive, cross-sectional and epidemiological studies, reports, etc., from the national and international electronic databases were reviewed and analysed. Results: Indicators of malnutrition have changed over the years. There is the paucity of data on child malnutrition from 1947 to 1972. Until the 1980s, the data were represented in the proportion of under-five children falling below a specified percent of the median as per weight-for-age. From 1980 to 2021, the data on the nutrition status of children under five are available as prevalence based on weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height. Overall, not much progress can be observed towards achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) targets for underweight, stunting and wasting since 2005. Conclusions: The past seven decades have witnessed upward as well as downward trends during various periods of time in the prevalence of undernutrition. However, there has always been an upward trend in the prevalence of over-nutrition. To achieve SDG-2 by 2030, i.e., to reduce and maintain wasting by 5%, stunting by 40% and no further increase in childhood obesity, there is a need to strengthen the existing strategies and focus on the most vulnerable and critical age groups.

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