National Nutrition Survey

News: The Government of India has released the first-ever comprehensive National Nutrition Survey.


About the National Nutrition Survey:

  • The survey has been conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to measure malnutrition.
  • The survey recorded not only micronutrient deficiencies but also details of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and kidney function in children and adolescents.

Key takeaways from the survey:

National Level:

  • Nearly 10% of children in the age group of 5-9 years and adolescents in the age group of 10-19 years are pre-diabetic.
  • Further, 5% of the children and adolescents in the same group are overweight and another 5% suffer from blood pressure.

Urban India:

  • Malnutrition among children in urban India is characterised by relatively poor levels of breastfeeding, higher prevalence of iron and Vitamin D deficiency as well as obesity.
  • In rural India, there is higher percentage of children suffering from stunting, underweight and wasting and lower consumption of milk products.
  • 83% of children between 12 and 15 months continued to be breastfed, a higher proportion of children in this age group residing in rural areas are breastfed (85%) compared to children in urban areas (76%).Breastfeeding is inversely proportional to household wealth.
  • Children and adolescents residing in urban areas also have a higher (40.6%) prevalence of iron deficiency compared to their rural counterparts (29%).
  • Children in urban areas are also overweight and obese as indicated by subscapular skinfold thickness (SSFT) for their age.
  • Wealthier households in urban areas and sedentary lifestyle of children may also be responsible for higher deficiency of Vitamin D in urban areas (19%) as compared to rural areas (12%).

Rural India:

  • Among children aged 1-4 years, zinc deficiency is more common in rural areas (20%) compared to urban areas (16%).
  • Rural areas also witness higher prevalence of stunting (37% in rural versus 27% in urban), underweight (36% in rural versus 26% in urban) and severe acute malnutrition (34.7% in rural areas for children in 5-9 years versus 23.7% in urban areas and 27.4% in urban areas for adolescents in 10-19 years versus 32.4% in rural areas).

Additional information:


  • UNICEF stands for United Nations Children’s Fund. It was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.It is headquartered in New York, USA.
  • It is a special program of the United Nations (UN) devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.

Note: Stunting- low height for age, Wasting- low weight compared to height, Underweight- low weight for age. Malnutrition includes both under and over nutrition.