India's hunger problem worse than North Korea, Bangladesh

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In India, it has increased in India from 17.1% in 1998-02 to 21% in 2012-16.

India has a "serious" hunger problem and ranks 100 among 119 developing countries, lagging behind countries such as North Korea and Iraq, said the global hunger index report released by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Thursday.

It further stated that India's poor performance is one of the main reasons pushing the South Asia region to the worst performing category on the GHI scale this year.

Prevalence of wasting in Sri Lankan children under five years increased to 21.4 percent in the five-year period from 2012-2016. "Only three other countries in this year's GHI-Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan-have data or estimates showing child wasting above 20 percent in the latest period (2012-2016)", the report says.

AVAILABILITY OF FOOD The availability of solid food with breast milk for young children (when they transition from exclusive breastfeeding) declined from 52.7 per cent to 42.7 per cent. ADEQUATE DIET The proportion of children between six and 23 months who received an adequate diet was 9.6 per cent. SANITATION FACILITIES No more than 48.4 per cent of households had access to improved sanitation facilities; sanitation is an important factor in improving nutrition. Based on body mass index, the study put the prevalence of underweight children and adolescents at 22.7% among girls, and 30.7% among boys.

"India's 2017 GHI score is at the high end of the serious category", it said.

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India ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Raising the alarm on the "serious" hunger problems in the country, the report mentioned, "given that three quarters of South Asia's population reside in India, the situation in that country strongly influences South Asia's regional score". However, as for the prevalence of wasting in children under five years, there is, however, no improvement.

By contrast, the report said, India considerably improved its child stunting rate, down 29% since 2000, but even that progress leaves India with a relatively high stunting rate of 38.4%. "The improvement on the child stunting rate shows that children are born in a better condition than before", Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI was quoted as saying.

The report, published by the IFPRI in tandem with Concern Worldwide, an Irish aid agency, also acknowledge the two national programs that India runs to addresses nutrition - the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission - but points out that their reach isn't enough.

The country was ranked 90th among 118 countries in 2016.

The 2017 GHI scores show that the level of hunger in the world has decreased by 27% since 2000.

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