Mote than 9.2 lakh children in India are severely acute malnourished, with the most in Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar,according to government data, underscoring concerns that the Covid pandemic could exacerbate the health and nutrition crisis among the poorest of the poor.
An estimated 9,27,606 severely acute malnourished children from six months to six years were identified across the country till November last year, the Women and Child Development Ministry said in response to an RTI query from PTI.
Of these, UP counted for 3,98,359 and Bihar 2,79,427, according to the figures shared by the ministry. Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh reported no severely malnourished kids.
Except for Ladakh, none of the anganwadi cencentres in the other four, including Madhya Pradesh, one of India’s largest States, reported any data on the matter, as per the RTI reply.
The WHO defines severe acute malnutrition by very low weight-for-height or a mid -upper arm circumference less than 115mm, or by the presence of nutritional oedema. Children suffering from SAM have very low weight for their height.