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Sunday, 6 June 2021

New Delhi: More than 2.5 lakh children in the country are suffering from 'severe malnutrition

New Delhi: More than 2.5 lakh children in the country are suffering from 'severe malnutrition', with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar being the worst affected, according to government figures. These figures dispel the concern that the global COVID-19 epidemic exacerbates health and nutritional distress among the poorest of the poor.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development said in its RTI reply on behalf of PTI-Bhasa that as of November last year, about 9,27,606 'severely malnourished' children in the age group of six months to six years have been identified.

The highest number of 3,98,359 children has been identified in Uttar Pradesh and 2,79,427 in Bihar, according to figures shared by the ministry. Not a single severely malnourished child was found in Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh. According to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, four Anganwadi Centers, including Madhya Pradesh, one of the largest states in the country except Ladakh, have not provided any information on the matter.

What is 'severe malnutrition'?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ‘severe malnutrition’ (SAM) as swelling caused by less than 115 millimeters or more of nutrient deficiency, compared to above the circumference of the very upper middle. Children with severe malnutrition are underweight for their height and are nine times more likely to die from the disease due to a weakened immune system.

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