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10 Shocking Facts About Malnutrition India Needs To Address Right Now

The number of undernourished people in India is thrice the entire population of France.

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1. India is currently home to 194 million undernourished people, according to the World Food Programme. That’s THRICE the entire population of France.

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2. The prevalence of underweight children in India (48%) is almost twice as high as the average in 26 sub-Saharan African countries (25%).

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3. It is estimated that around 9.3 million children suffer from acute malnutrition in India.

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4. According to the 2008 Global Hunger Index, more than 5 million children die every year as a direct or indirect result of malnutrition in India.

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5. India now has the highest number of children with stunted growth due to malnutrition – 48.2 million. That's more than the population of Canada.

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6. The issued also is heavily gendered. In India, one in three girls aged 15-19 are stunted.

Undernourished girls grow up to become undernourished women who give birth to a new generation of undernourished children.
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Undernourished girls grow up to become undernourished women who give birth to a new generation of undernourished children.

7. More than half of all women between the ages of 15-49 years are anaemic.

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8. Breastfeeding within an hour of birth could prevent 20% of the newborn deaths.

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9. Only half of the children under six months of age are exclusively breastfed.

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10. Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die from diarrhoea as compared to children who are exclusively breastfed.

However because of not directly breastfeeding them, pneumonia and diarrhoea are two of the leading causes of death in children under five.
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However because of not directly breastfeeding them, pneumonia and diarrhoea are two of the leading causes of death in children under five.

The international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated over 17,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in India since 2009. You can support them in their efforts here.