India has the highest number of ‘stunted’ children in the world and nearly a third of all stunted children worldwide are to be found in India. According to the report, around 47 million children in India suffer from stunting due to poor nutrition intake in the long term and repeated infections.
India is also the country with the highest number of children who are ‘wasted’. This is an even more severe indicator of acute malnutrition. India has 25.5 million children who are wasted. Among the 50.5 million children who are wasted globally, India has half of the global wasting burden. Stunting in India varied greatly from district to district (12.4 per cent to 65.1 per cent). 239 of 604 districts had stunting levels above 40 per cent. As of 2015, the percentage of children Under 5 (both boys and girls) who were stunted was 37.9 per cent and the percentage of children Under 5 who were wasted was 20.8 per cent. The households with the lowest incomes had the highest number of wasting (23.8 per cent) and stunting (50.7 per cent) among children aged under five years. 7 per cent of children under five years of age were stunted in rural India while 30.6 per cent of children were stunted in urban India, while 21.1 per cent children aged under five were wasted in rural areas and 19.9 per cent were wasted in urban areas. The report also shows the nutrition status of children and adolescents aged between five and19 years. 58.1 per cent of boys were underweight while 50.1 per cent girls were underweight. This difference between the genders is attributed to India’s adverse sex ratio in the first place. More than half of all women of reproductive age (51.4 per cent), whether or not they were pregnant, suffered from anaemia.