Thursday, October 14, 2010

Commonwealth is home to 64% malnourished kids

India may rank second in the Commonwealth Games medal league but India leads Commonwealth tally in underweight children. Bangladesh and Pakistan with malnutrition rate of 41 percent and 31 percent respectively.

About 43% of India's children are underweight, and 7 million under fives are severely malnourished, says a new report "Commonwealth or Common Hunger", released by Save the Children.

The report reveals that 64% of the world's underweight children live in 54 Commonwealth countries, and India has both the highest number and the highest proportion of underweight children. More than two-thirds of stunted children (88.5 million or 68.6%) and nearly half of those who are underweight (95 million or 48.7%) live in just seven Commonwealth countries.

The critical period when malnutrition can have the most irrevocable impact is during the 33 months from conception to a child's second birthday, says the report. After this period, it is much harder to reverse the effects of chronic malnutrition, and the effects are life-long or life-threatening.

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