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Child food poverty requires radical long term solutions

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 28 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3608

Re: Child food poverty requires radical long term solutions

Rebecca O’Connell et. al. argue that child food poverty is a problem all year in the UK and requires a long-term solution. We share some issues related to child food poverty in India. The World Bank estimates that India is one of highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from food poverty (malnutrition). [1] Children from scheduled tribes have the poorest nutritional status on almost every measure and the high prevalence of wasting in this group (28%) is of particular concern.

In India, only 33% children receive any service from an anganwadi center; less than 25% receive supplementary food through ICDS; and only 18% have their weights measured in a AWC. (Source NFHS 3, 2005-2006). [2] The 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 100th out of 118 countries with a serious hunger situation. GHI Severity Scale is Low ≤9.9, Moderate 10.-19.9, Serious 20.0-34.9, Alarming 35.0-49.9 and Extremely Alarming 50.0 ≤. The UK ranks 16th in tackling poverty, 34th on food insecurity, 15th on health and wellbeing. Comparison records 2000 to 2017; the whole population of the World that is under nourished is 13.0%, down from 18.2%; 0-5 year aged children who are stunted is 27.8%, down from 37.7%; 0-5 year aged children who are wasted is 9.5%, down from 90.9%; and mortality in 0-5 year aged children is 4.7%, down from 8.2%. [3]

To tackle the food poverty of children and families: Midday meal scheme in Indian schools, Integrated child development scheme, National Children’s Fund, National Plan of Action for Children, United Nations Children’s Fund.

1. World Bank Report (2009), “World Bank Report on Malnutrition in India”.
2. UNICEF Report of India, NFHS 3, 2005-2006.
3. 2017 Global Hunger Index Report. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
4. World Development Indicators- Google Public Data Explorer.
Jyoti Rani, Dr. Smita Asthana

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 September 2018
Jyoti Rani
Dr. Smita Asthana