Strategy to address the Causes

Malnutrition is a major public health emergency in India today, with about 50% of the population suffering from it in some form - protein-calorie deficit and/or micro-nutrient malnutrition. It is the underlying cause of at least 50% of deaths of under 5 children in the country. Even if it does not lead to death, malnutrition including micronutrient deficiencies, often leads to permanent damage including impairment of physical growth and mental development, and to added health care costs to the State. India’s Nutritional Indicators are a cause of concern and progress in their improvement has been extremely slow, as shown in the Table at Annexure I. The Nutrition Scenario in Karnataka compared to other Southern States is also a cause for concern. For example, the IMR in Karnataka according to NFHS III is 43 as compared to 30.4 and15.3 in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively. The under 5 mortality rate in Karnataka (54.7) is also much higher than Tamil Nadu (35.5) and Kerala (16.3). The percentage of under-three age stunted children in the State (42.4) according to NFHS III is not only higher than the national percentage (38.4) but also much higher than the other three Southern States the percentages there being Andhra Pradesh (36.4), Kerala (26.5) and Tamil Nadu (31.1).