There is a growing risk of non-communicable diseases among children aged 5 to 9 years and adolescents aged 10-19 years in India. As per the recent Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) , one in 10 school-age children and adolescents were pre-diabetic.
One percent of school-age children and adolescents were diabetic and three percent of school-age children and four per cent of adolescents had high total cholesterol.
Seven percent of school-age children and adolescents were at risk for chronic kidney disease. Five percent of adolescents were classified as having hypertension.
The CNNS, the first-ever nationally representative nutrition survey of children and adolescents in India, has also found that 35 per cent of children under five were stunted, 22 per cent of school-age children were stunted while 24 per cent of adolescents were thin for their age.
To provide robust data on the shifting conditions of both under-nutrition and overweight and obesity, the Ministry of Health conducted the survey to collect a comprehensive set of data on nutritional status of Indian children from 0-19 years of age.
This survey was the largest micronutrient survey ever implemented. Also, the survey used gold standard methods to assess anaemia, micronutrient deficiencies and biomarkers of NCDs for the first time in India.
As far as stunting was concerned, a number of the most populous states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had a high (37-42 per cent) prevalence.
The lowest prevalence of stunting (16-21% ) was found in Goa and Jammu and Kashmir. A higher prevalence of stunting in under-fives was found in rural areas (37 per cent) compared to urban areas (27 per cent). Also, children in the poorest wealth quintile were more likely to be stunted (49 per cent), as compared to 19 per cent in the richest quintile.
Stunting and underweight prevalence were both about 7 per cent in newborn children, with a steady increase in both indicators until two years of age. The prevalence of stunting peaked at 40 per cent at approximately two years of age and slowly declined to 30 per cent by the fifth year of life. The prevalence of underweight was highest (35 per cent) in the third year of life and ranged from 25 per cent to 34 per cent during 36-59 months of age.
Overall, 35 per cent of children aged 5 to 9 years were underweight, with 10 per cent severely underweight. The prevalence of underweight was 30 per cent at age five years and remained stable across the five-year period.
On deficiencies, as per the survey, the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency was 18 per cent among pre-school children, 22 per cent among school-age children and 16 per cent among adolescents.
Vitamin D deficiency was found among 14 per cent of pre-school children, 18 per cent of school-age children and 24 per cent of adolescents.
Nearly one-fifth of pre-school children (19 per cent), 17 per cent of school-age children and 32 per cent of adolescents had zinc deficiency.
On anaemia, the survey found that forty-one per cent of pre-schoolers, 24 per cent of school-age children and 28 per cent of adolescents suffered from it. Anaemia was most prevalent among children under two years of age.
Female adolescents had a higher prevalence of anaemia (40 per cent) compared to their male counterparts (18 per cent).
Anaemia was a moderate or severe public health problem among pre-schoolers in 27 states, among school-age children in 15 states, and among adolescents in 20 states.
Thirty-two percent of pre-schoolers, 17 per cent of school-age children and 22 per cent of adolescents had iron deficiency.
FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR DR GOVIND SHUKLA, NUTRITION EXPERT
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Govind Shukla, Specializes in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Nutraceuticals & Herbal Drugs has published More than 100 research papers in National & International Journals. He is also a reviewer of International Journal of Pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, Chief editor of IJPNR Journal & Freelance Medical Writer for Different publication Groups including Lambert Academic Publishing Saarbrucken, Germany.