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Global Nutrition Report

  • Category
    Public Health
  • Published
    30th May, 2020

Malnutrition still remains one of India’s biggest challenges, according to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report released worldwide.


Malnutrition still remains one of India’s biggest challenges, according to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report released worldwide.


  • The annual report, which captures the burden of malnutrition at the global, regional, sub-regional and country levels, is billed as the world’s leading independent assessment of the state of global nutrition.
  • Although the report was written before the current coronavirus pandemic, “its emphasis on nutritional well-being for all, particularly the most vulnerable, has a heightened significance in the face of this new global threat.


  • Most people across the world cannot access or afford healthy food, due to agricultural systems that favour calories over nutrition as well as the ubiquity and low cost of highly processed foods.
  • Inequalities exist across and within countries.
  • 1 in 9 people are still undernourished while 149 million children under 5 years of age are still affected by stunting globally.

Not one country is on course to meet all 10 of the 2025 global nutrition targets and just eight of 194 countries are on track to meet four targets.

Global Nutrition Targets:

  • In 2012, the World Health Assembly identified 6 nutrition targets for maternal, infant and young child nutrition to be met by 2025.
  • These require governments to:
    • reduce stunting by 40% in children under 5 and prevalence of anaemia by 50% among women in the age group of 19-49 years.
    • ensure 30% reduction in low-birth weight and no increase in childhood overweight.
    • increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months up to at least 50%.
    • reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%.

India’s nutritional story

  • In a section on India which maps progress against global targets for 10 specific parameters set for 2019, three had no data, one showed “some progress”, while six were marked “no progress or worsening.’’
  • India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. India is also the country with the highest rates of domestic inequalities in malnutrition.
  • The country is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting, where the levels varied four-fold across communities.
  • However, the under-five mortality (per 1000 births) rate showed a clear decline from 43.6 per cent in 2015 to 36.6 per cent in 2018.
  • Other statistics for India (2016 figures) show that it has 0.76 physicians, 2.09 nurses and midwifes and 0.58 community health workers per 1000 people.

What leads to malnutrition?

  • Inequity is a cause of malnutrition – both undernutrition and overweight, obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.
  • Inequities in food and health systems exacerbate inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.


  • With only five years left to meet the 2025 global nutrition targets, time is running out. The world must focus action where the need is greatest for maximum impact.

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