Child Wasting: J-K’s malnourished children point to poor socioeconomic conditions

Wasting in children is a symptom of malnutrition or sickness.

According to a report by NITI Aayog, over three lakh children under the age of five years have been suffering from two stages of malnutrition in Jammu and Kashmir during the year 2019–20.

The NITI Aayog indicated in a report titled ‘State Nutrition Profile of Jammu and Kashmir’ issued earlier in September that at least 183,259 children under the age of five were wasted and 94,091 were severely wasted in the year 2019–20.

Child wasting is a warning sign of serious malnutrition

Wasting of children is a warning sign that indicates malnutrition or disease.

There are four types of undernutrition: wasting, stunting, underweight, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Children, in particular, are more susceptible to sickness and mortality as a result of malnutrition.

Wasting, which is defined as a low weight-for-height ratio, generally suggests recent and significant weight loss due to a lack of food and/or an infectious condition, such as diarrhea.

A moderately or severely wasted young kid has a higher chance of mortality, although medication is possible.

Anantnag has the highest number of wasted children

According to the report’s wasted children statistics, 19 of J-K’s 20 districts have public health concerns.

Anantnag has the largest number of wasted children with at least 24,350 instances, followed by border district Kupwara with 22,158 cases.

Srinagar is ranked third in the state for the number of wasted children, with 13,911 in Baramulla and 13,812 in Jammu.

Severely nourished children in all districts of J-K

Similarly, the data shows that at least 94,091 children were extremely malnourished throughout the time period, with 20 of the 20 districts showing signs of health complications.

There were 13,691 cases of extremely malnourished children in Anantnag, 12,977 cases in Kupwara, 7,980 cases in Jammu district, 6,722 cases in Baramulla, and 6,460 cases in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Data points to poor socioeconomic conditions

It is not just malnutrition that is a cause of concern. In fact, the huge number of malnourished children in the union territory is a pointer towards the poor socioeconomic conditions.

Besides the concern of malnutrition, anaemia and stunting instances are also prominent in Jammu and Kashmir as around six lakh children are anaemic and more than two lakhs are stunted.

It is to be noted that stunting, defined as a lack of height for one’s age, is caused by chronic or recurring malnutrition, which is frequently linked to low socioeconomic situations and poor maternal health and nutrition.

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