India has third-highest number of obese people: study

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New Delhi: India has the third-highestnumber of obese and overweight people (11 percent of adolescents, and 20 percent of all adults) after US and China, a recent study mapping global malnutrition trends has revealed. The Malnutrition Mapping Project launched by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in partnership with Amway has also found that half of pregnant women and 74 per cent of children under the age of five are anemic.

According to the study, a total of 56 per 1000 children die before their 5th birthday, and 47.9 percent of children under the age of five are stunted. The project highlights the global challenge represented by the double burden of under-nutrition and overweight and obesity. Although there are decreasing rates of undernutrition in some populations, it remains high in many low-and- middle-income countries, threatening the survival and healthy development of children. In India, for example, undernutrition is the leading risk factor for death in children under age 5. High among the causes of childhood malnutrition in India are vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as sub-optimal breastfeeding practices, according to the project.

Only 46 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and malnutrition is said to cost the Indian economy approximately $200 billion highlighted the new Malnutrition Mapping Project, an online compilation of data that includes an online map for country-specific information and insights on the global challenge of malnutrition.

It includes data from more than 30 countries representing low, middle and high incomes and provides an easy path to country-by-country statistics and insights on nutritional challenges. “This double burden of malnutrition is a serious global challenge and one that we can’t meet unless we have strong data. We need to build a clearer picture of where people are and what their nutritional status is in order to effectively target interventions,” said Dominic Schofield, Director and Senior Technical Advisor at GAIN. The goal of this project is to raise awareness of malnutrition in all its forms so that political, health and business leaders can discuss, develop and ultimately implement solutions.

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