, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 301-305
Date: 09 Mar 2010

Nutrition and child survival in India

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India recognized the importance of improving the health and nutritional status of children, and initiated steps to improve access to nutrition and health services soon after independence. Over the years, the infrastructure and human resources for manning the health and nutrition services have been built up and currently cover the entire country. However these are inadequacies in terms of content and quality of services and undernutrition rates and under five morality rates continue to be high. Undernutrition begins in utero, and with low birthweight, effective antenatal care can help in reducing low birth weight. The poor infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, repeated morbidity due to infections and poor utilization of health and nutrition services are other causes of undernutrition in children in India. The key intervention to prevent undernutrition is nutritional and health education through all modes of communication, to bring about is a behavioral change towards appropriate IYCF and utilization of health care. Appropriate convergence and synergy between health and nutrition functionaries can play a major role in early detection and effective management of both undernutrition and infections, accelerate the pace of reduction in both undernutrition and under five mortality and enable India to reach Millennium Development Goals.