At 14%, India’s number of undernourished people declines by 60 mn: UN


Team Udayavani, Jul 14, 2020, 6:28 PM IST

United Nations: The number of undernourished people in India has declined by 60 million, from 21.7 per cent in 2004-06 to 14 per cent in 2017-19, according to a UN report.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, released on Monday, said that there were less stunted children but more obese adults in India. The report considered the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition said that the number of undernourished people in India declined from 249.4 million in 2004–06 to 189.2 million in 2017–19.

The two subregions showing reductions in undernourishment – eastern and southern Asia are dominated by the two largest economies of the continent -China and India.

“Despite very different conditions, histories and rates of progress, the reduction in hunger in both the countries stems from long-term economic growth, reduced inequality, and improved access to basic goods and services,” it said.

The report is prepared jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It further said that the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 years of age in India declined from 47.8 per cent in 2012 to 34.7 per cent in 2019 or from 62 million in 2012 to 40.3 million in 2019.

More Indian adults became obese between 2012-16, it said. The number of adults (18 years and older) who are obese grew from 25.2 million in 2012 to 34.3 million in 2016, from 3.1 per cent to 3.9 per cent. The number of women of reproductive age (15–49) affected by anaemia grew from 165.6 million in 2012 to 175.6 million in 2016.

The number of infants 0–5 months of age exclusively breastfed grew from 11.2 million in 2012 to 13.9 million in 2019.

The report said that almost 690 million people globally were undernourished (or hungry) in 2019, up by 10 million from 2018. The hungry are most numerous in Asia, but expanding fastest in Africa.

Across the planet, the report forecasts, that the COVID-19 pandemic could push over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020.

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