The recently released family health survey (NFHS 4) has brought forth a grim reality of India and its undernourished children.
An alarming estimate of 58% of children below five were found to be anaemic. Anaemia is a blood disorder that is caused by a nutritional deficiency or blood loss. The red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen through the body using a protein called 'hemoglobin' and any shortage of the cells or hemoglobin causes anaemia.
‘More than 58% of all children in India, under the age of 5 years are anaemic; i.e, suffer from a low quantity of haemoglobin in the blood.’
The exalted levels are stark indications of "poor socio-economic conditions" and "suboptimal health and/ or nutritional conditions" as defined by World Health Organisation.
Although, it must be reported that that the internationally accepted criteria for the health of children have improved since the last 2005-06 survey. However, the levels of malnourishment, poverty etc are still very high and respective improvements needed in the sectors have been too slow.
According to the data revealed in 2011, the projection of the total number of children under the age of 5 years in India was 12.4 crore. So the NFHS data reveals that about 7.2 crore children were anaemic, 5 crores stunted, 2.6 crores wasted and 4.4 crores were underweight.
The WHO was of the opinion that such levels were clear indications of poor socio-economic conditions and sub-par health and nutritional conditions.