UNICEF defines child wasting as low weight for height. It is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease. India comes second after South Sudan in terms of wasting(low weight for low height) among children. According to the Global Hunger Index 2018 report, India has been ranked at 103rd position out of 119 countries. Except for Pakistan, all other neighbors are in better position as compared to India.
Among all 119 countries
- Nepal was ranked 72nd
- Sri Lanka 67th
- Bangladesh was ranked 86th.
The report also states that child stunting in India has increased in the last two decades. In 2000, 17.1 percent of children under five years were wasted. Now India is second (21 percent) after South Sudan where 28.6 percent of children are wasted.
The report says, “South Asia’s child wasting rate constitutes a critical public health emergency. This is made all the more concerning because it has not decreased but rather has slightly increased since 2000. The child wasting rate for the region is amplified in part by that of India, which has the region’s largest population and the highest level of child wasting.”
The findings of the 2018 Global Hunger Index—published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe—are based on the assessment of four criteria:
- undernourishment (insufficient calorie intake),
- child stunting (too short for one’s age),
- child wasting
- and child mortality.
After going through the findings, the report also predicts that the world is not going to achieve zero hunger targets by 2030 as it had committed in 2015. “We are not on track to meet that goal,” it says.