9 out of every 10 children aged 6-23 do not get an adequate diet in Bihar and Jharkhand

  • In Bihar and Jharkhand, nine out of every 10 children aged 6-23 do not get an adequate diet. The nutrition and health status of children in these two States has been found to be “critically low” in comparison to the national standard.

  • According to NFHS-4, 2015-16 data, only 7.5% and 7.2% of children in Bihar and Jharkhand respectively in this age group receive an adequate diet, according to a trend analysis of the NFHS-4 data released by the NGO, Child Rights and You (CRY).

  • CRY’s findings indicate that inadequate provision of quality antenatal care, and the States’ failure to address the special nutritional requirements of expecting and lactating mothers are negatively affecting child health.

  • The NFHS-4 data on child-feeding practices and the nutritional status of children further suggest that almost two-thirds of children under the age of 3 years in these two States are not breastfed within the first hour of birth.

  • The analysis also observed that almost two-thirds of children (63.5% in Bihar and 69.9% in Jharkhand) aged 6-59 months were suffering from acute anaemia.

  • The prevalence of anaemia among a high percentage of pregnant women in the age-group of 15-49 years (62.6% in Jharkhand and 58.3% in Bihar) further indicates that juvenile anaemia is merely a manifestation of the malnutrition-cycle transmitted through generations, thereby extending the legacy of under-nutrition.

  • Further, the data on maternal health also revealed that only 9% of pregnant women in Bihar and 15% of pregnant women in Jharkhand consumed iron and folic acid supplements for hundred days or more during pregnancy.

  • On the positive side, both Bihar and Jharkhand have done well in several child health and nutrition indicators such as institutional delivery, immunisation, and treatment of critical childhood diseases.

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