India Has a Serious Hunger Problem, Shows Global Hunger Index Report

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India has a "serious" hunger problem and ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index - behind North Korea, Bangladesh and Iraq but ahead of Pakistan, according to a report.

With a 31.4 GHI score, reaching the high end of the serious category that ranges between 20-34.9, the country's rank slipped by three notches compared to previous year when it ranked 97th on GHI 2016.

Over a three-year duration, the country has seen a slide of 45 positions from 55th in 2014. The region is followed closely by Africa South of the Sahara. However, Pakistan ranked even below India and held the 106 spot. With a score of 31.4 out of 100, India's 2017 GHI falls in the "serious" category. Only three other countries in this year's GHI-Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan-show child wasting above 20%, and India's child wasting rate has not shown any substantial improvement over the past 25 years, the report said.

"India's high ranking on the Global Hunger Index again this year brings to the fore the disturbing reality of the country's stubbornly high proportions of malnourished children", the statement said.

However, India has made considerable improvement in reducing its child stunting rate, down 29 per cent since 2000, but even that progress leaves India with a relatively high stunting rate of 38.4. Though being under several worldwide conflicts, North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) ranked much better India in the hunger parameter.

The release of the under-5 wasting trends comes days after the publication of a study, in The Lancet, which has found a high count of underweight children in age group 5-19 in India.

Thus, among the BRICS countries, Brazil ranks 18th, Russian Federation 22nd, China 29th and South Africa 55th.

The report states that Sri Lanka's score, based on the prevalence of undernourishment, child stunting (low height-for-age), child wasting (low weight-for-height), and child mortality, has worsened since 2016. "(1) the timely introduction of complementary foods for young children (that is, the transition away from exclusive breastfeeding), which declined from 52.7 percent to 42.7 percent between 2006 and 2016; (2) the share of children between 6 and 23 months old who receive an adequate diet-a mere 9.6 percent for the country; and (3) household access to improved sanitation facilities-a likely factor in child health and nutrition-which stood at 48.4 percent as of 2016". Of the 119 countries assessed in this year's report, on the GHI Severity Scale, one is in the extremely alarming range, 7 are in the alarming range, 44 in the serious range, and 24 in the moderate range.

Globally, the level of hunger in the world has decreased by 27 percent from the 2000 level. The plan shows stronger commitment and greater investments in tackling malnutrition in the coming years.



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