“It is easier to ‘Build Strong Children Than to Repair Broken Men”. Well said, right?
Children are our ‘Vibrant India’ s’- foundation. We have to take the initiative of bringing up healthy and secure children, to ultimately give them a more robust and safe future.
Despite efforts to improve the ‘Nutritional Status’, malnutrition continues to be the most significant health concern in our country. It is still the reason for morbidity and mortality in our children. Of all Indian children under the age of five, about one in three (38%) are stunted, one in three kids (36%) are underweight, and one in five (21%) are wasted. Approximately 3,200 children die each day from diet-related illnesses.
According to the Global Nutrition Report 2018, India accounts for more than three of every ten stunted children globally. A lot of children are born to anaemic and malnourished teenage mothers. About 35% of our Indian women are chronically undernourished, and about 60% are still weak.
Well, so what is the reason for such high rates of Malnourishment?
A common cause of all forms of malnutrition is a Suboptimal Diet. One possible intervention that can help in this situation is the inclusion of milk in the feeding programme for children in schools. Scanty nutrient intake during childhood leads to undernutrition, which results in growth retardation, reduced capacity to work, poor mental and social development etc. Attending to the nutritional problems and adopting healthy dietary habits during adolescence can be crucial for ‘catch up’ growth and reduced risk of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, “Malnutrition is the single most significant contributor to infections in the world.
So, what is the solution for eradicating malnutrition in India?
“The Government of India” has launched many programs: to focus on the mounting rate of hungry children. They are—
Integrated child development scheme [ICDS]
The government of India started ICDS in 1975. This scheme has been active towards refining the health of “Mothers and Children” under six years of age, by providing health and nutrition education, health services, food, and pre-school education. ICDS targets rural, urban and tribal populations and has reached over 80 million young children and 16 million pregnant and lactating women.
Midday meal scheme in Indian schools—
The Indian government started the Midday Meal Scheme on 15 August 1995 that serves millions of children with freshly cooked meals in government schools or schools aided by the government fund.
Food for Life program is run by ISKCON Food Relief Foundation and The Akshaya Patra Foundation midday meal programs, each serving freshly cooked meals to million school children in government and government-aided schools in India. These programs are conducted with part subsidies from the government and partly with donations from individuals and corporations.
National Children’s Fund—
National Children’s Fund was created under the Charitable Endowment Fund Act. This Fund provides support to the most voluntary organisations that help for the welfare of kids.
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNICEF has supported India in several areas like child development, women’s event, public services, health education, nutrition, water & sanitation, childhood disability etc.
Studies show that a diet containing milk or dairy products provides 25-35% of the protein requirement and can have a positive effect on weight gain and linear growth in malnourished kids. “Milk” contains several micronutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and phosphorus, which make bones strong, increase immunity, and improve vision and motor functions. Milk is a wholesome food and can play an essential role in reducing malnutrition if included in our daily diet. Providing 200 ml of fortified, flavoured and pasteurised toned milk for one year, every day on all working days to children, from standard 1 to 10, have had promising results. With this, the number of anaemic children decreased after regular consumption of milk, which can be attributed to functional quality proteins contained in milk. There was a marked improvement in the IQ levels, showing a positive impact on the cognitive functions of children. Apart from milk, a Balanced Diet is crucial in improving health and maintaining proper physical and mental growth of children.
School meal programs have been running in developed and developing countries.
We, as a community, need to ensure that every child is well-nourished. Any initiative in addressing malnutrition through school meal programs will benefit and transform the lives of millions of children and help build a healthy India.
EKAM Foundation is a non-profit organisation whose vision is happy and healthy infants, children and mothers. EKAM addresses the challenges that the underprivileged population face and helps them live in a thriving environment.
“History will Evaluate us by “The difference we Make in Everyday Lives of Our Children.”
So, log onto www.ekamoneness.org to learn how we can help build a healthy India.