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Nutrition Security in India: Determinants and Policies

Deepali Sharma

India has the largest number of malnourished children in the world and one third of all the stunted children globally. The low levels of under nutrition, coupled with increasing levels of over nutrition, causing double burden of malnutrition. It is now also emerging that the triple burden of malnutrition is also a reality in India. Given the high rates of economic growth witnessed, the malnutrition levels are a cause of serious concern. It is well recognized that the achievement nutritional security calls for a multi sectoral approach that target the determinants of malnutrition. In this paper, using national representative data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) and existing literature, we review the current nutritional situation in India, its determinants and the policy and programs undertaken to tackle it. Although the rates of malnutrition are reducing, the numbers are still high. There seems adequate number of government programs and schemes that are beneficial, but their full potential is not getting utilized due to various problems. A truly multi sectoral and coordinated approach is required for India to be able to achieve nutrition goals.