Adolescents,Diets and Nutrition:Growing Well in a Changing World Report

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News:UNICEF has released a report titled “Adolescents, Diets and Nutrition: Growing Well in a Changing World”.

Facts:

About the report:

  • The report has been released in association with the NITI Aayog.The report is based on the recently released Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey(CNNS).
  • The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey(CNSS) is the first ever survey of its kind.The survey has been conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to measure malnutrition.
  • It studied 1.2 lakh children between 2016 and 2018 and measured food consumption, anthropometric data, micronutrients, anaemia, iron deficiency and markers of non-communicable diseases.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Over 50% of adolescents(about 63 million girls and 81 million boys) in the age group of 10 to 19 years in India are, short, thin, overweight or obese.
  • More than 80 per cent adolescents in India suffer from hidden hunger a form of undernutrition.Hidden hunger is a deficiency of one or more micronutrients such as iron, folate, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
  • The report found that adolescent girls especially suffer multiple nutritional deprivations.While more girls suffer from shortness than boys, anaemia affects 40% of adolescent girls compared to 18% of boys and worsens as they get older.
  • The report has also revealed that government nutritional schemes are not reaching the adolescents.
  • Further,fruits and eggs are consumed daily by less than 10% of boys and girls.Over 25% of adolescents reported no consumption of green leafy vegetables even once a week.

Recommendations:

  • The report has asked the government to focus on adolescent girls before they become mothers to break India’s intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.
  • It has also asked the government to work with academia to tap into the growing expertise in nutrition, diets and agriculture.
  • It has also called for more private sector investment and engagement in adolescent nutrition.