Zero-food children

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Source-This post on Zero-food children has been created based on the article “Report turns spotlight on India’s ‘zero-food children” published in “The Hindu” on 8 March 2024.

Why in the news?

A recent study had ranked India as having the third-highest percentage of children who had not eaten any food for 24 hours.

About Zero-food children

Zero-food children

It refers to those children who did not consume any animal milk, formula, or solid or semi-solid food during the last 24 hours.
This category is critical because, at approximately six months of age, breastfeeding alone is insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of a child.

Findings of recent studies

1) As per the study published recently in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open journal, India ranks third highest globally, with 19.3% of children not receiving food, following Guinea (21.8%) and Mali (20.5%). In terms of numbers, India has the highest number of zero-food children at more than six million.

2) As per the study of Lancet Discovery Science, Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 28.4% of zero-food children in India followed by Bihar (14.2%), Maharashtra (7.1%), Rajasthan (6.5%), and Madhya Pradesh (6%).

What are the steps taken by government to curb malnutrition in India?

1) Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: It was launched in 1975 to provide food, preschool education, primary healthcare, immunization, health checkups, and referral services to children under 6 years old and their mothers.
2) Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): It is a Centrally Sponsored DBT scheme with a cash incentive of ₹ 5000/- (in three instalments) being provided directly in the bank/post office account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.
3) National Nutrition Mission (NNM): The government of India has launched the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), also known as POSHAN Abhiyaan, to eradicate malnutrition by the year 2022.
4) Anaemia Mukt Bharat Abhiyan: The mission was launched in 2018 to accelerate anaemia decline by one to three percentage points annually.
5) Mid-day Meal (MDM) scheme: It aims to improve nutrition levels among school children in addition to increasing enrolment, retention, and attendance.
6) National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013: It ensures food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable section of society.

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