17 December, 2020
6 Min Read
Early data from NFHS-5 show decline in key anthropometric and nutrition indicators.
India has been one of the countries to have had among the worst effects of CoVID 19 pandemic. Pandemic and lockdown has led to new issues related to Food security and Food consumption for impoverished Indians. But the National Family Health Survey Data - 5 has shown the scale of the crisis which was conducted before the pandemic and its impact.
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NFHS - 5 data was released for 22 States / UTs except UP, MP, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jharkhand and Odisha. But the data shows a disappointing record on parameters like child nutrition and adult anthropometric measurements.
NFHS - 5 shows that 4 parameters of nutritional status on children declined in 2019-20 compared to NFHS - 4 (2015-16) in many states.
Ex. Childhood Stunting increased in 13 of the 22 States/ UTs. Even though Bihar has shown a decline of 5.4% in stunting, it still has the highest % of stunted children (42.9%) among the big States.
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On the other side, NFHS 5 also has improvements in other factors like access to sanitation and clean cooking fuels. With respect to gender, spousal violance declined, child marriage declined and access to bank accounts rose in all of them compared to NFHS - 4,. But the poor anthropometric measures related to hunger and nutrition suggests that Government schemes like POSHAN Abhiyaan will need a push and focus to meet targets of 2% point decrease in child stunting every year.
Moreover, this pandemic and its impact should make the Center and States to refocus on welfare delivery as a concerted strategy to eradicate hunger an extreme poverty. This will not just help India achieve UN's SDGs but will also be helpful in reviving the economy.
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