Assam HDR 2014 - 54 per cent pre-school children stunting, 37.4 per cent underweight
The Human Development Report, Assam 2014 has revealed a very appaling picture of the nutritional status of children in Assam. The HDR data show that a huge 53.9 per cent pre-school children (0-59 months) in the state is “stunting”, 37.4 per cent is “underweight” and 16.9 per cent “wasting”. It has also revealed that 2 out of 5 children in 8 districts of the state in this age group is “underweight.”
These findings came out following a survey conducted with anthropometric measurements among the children of this age-group across the districts to estimate child nutritional status with suitable disaggregation.
Accordingly, three common anthropometric indicators –(1) height-for-age (HAZ),(2) weight for age (WAZ) and (3) weight-for-height (WHZ) were calculated. Of these, HAZ is used to denote “stunting”- or low height for age, which is an indicator of chronic form of under-nutrition. WAZ or low weight corresponding to height stands for “wasting” or more acute or current form of under-nutrition. The WAZ, low weight for age, is an indicator of chronic form of under-nutrition, denoting “under-weight.”
“As for districts in the state, the proportion of under-weight children, which we may consider as summary indicator of child under-nutrition, is very high in the districts of Hailakandi, Goalpara, Karimganj, Dhemaji, Dhubri, Nagaon, Bangaigaon and Cachar, where two of every five children in the age-group of 0-5 years are underweight” it reveals.
Child under-nutrition in Assam and districts, 2013
(perchantage of children aged 0-59 months)
The district-wise data analysis for all these three basic indicators have revealed that Barpeta district has the highest number of “stunting” children with 82.1 per cent. The indicator is also alarmingly high in Goalpara district which is 77.9 per cent and Marigaon district which is 74.2.
The district-wise data analysis of these key indicators of child-nutrition has revealed that Hailakandi district has the highest number of “under-weight” children with 62 per cent. Karimganj district on the other hand, has the highest number of “wasting” children with 31.1 per cent.
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The geographical diversity category has shown that number of “stunting” children is highest in general area(66.1 per cent) followed by Char areas (61.8 per cent).
The HDR Assam, 2014 has revealed that multiple diversity areas and border areas are more vulnerable to “under-weight” and “wasting” children.
Number of under-weight is highest in multiple diversity areas (45.8 per cent) followed by border areas (39.8 per cent).
Similarly, number of “wasting” children too, is the highest in multiple diversity areas (24.6 per cent) followed by border areas (22.3 per cent).
The male-female break up has shown that 55 per cent male children against 52.9 per cent female children are “stunting”, 17.7 per cent male against 16.1 per cent is “wasting”, 39 per cent male children against 35.7 per cent female children are “under-weight.”
The rural-urban break up for these three indicators are: 55 per cent rural children against 44. Urban children are “stunting”; 17.1 per cent rural children against 15.6 urban children are “wasting” and 38.2 rural children against 30.4 urban children are “under-weight.”
“In fact, it is noted with great concern that nearly half of the infants (below 1 year) are underweight, likely indicating an impact of maternal under-nutrition, leading to low birth-weights. Expectedly all three forms of nutritional indicators indicate a higher burden in rural areas, but even urban levels are substantial”- the report adds.
The Assam HDR Survey, 2013 covered 39,998 households covering 187,511 individuals in 27 districts, 97 Blocks, 95 urban centres, 1972 villages of the state.
nezine.com Editorial Bureau