The Capital, from 2013 to 2016, recorded 244 deaths due to malnutrition in city hospitals, reveals an RTI reply from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Economic and Statistics and Office of the Chief Registrar (births and deaths).
“In Delhi, the population most vulnerable to deaths due to malnutrition includes children, elderly, socio-economically disadvantaged uninsured, low-income group children, the homeless, patients with HIV and other chronic health conditions, including mental illness,” explained senior Dietician Mansi Chaudhary at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
In India, 23% of women and 20% of men are considered undernourished while 21% of women and 19% of men are overweight or obese, according to figures released by the Union Health Ministry.
“Delhi too is seeing malnutrition and obesity-related diseases running parallel. There is a simultaneous occurrence of over nutrition and undernutrition among children and adults,” said RTI activist Rajhans Bansal who had sought the information.
According to Ms. Chaudhary, Delhi too as the rest of the country faces a serious burden of undernutrition which includes childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age and overweight adult women.
“In India, malnutrition problem results not from calorie intake but from dependence on a carbohydrate-based diet low in protein and fat. Another factor trigging malnutrition is inadequate sanitation which triggers and increase infection rates,” she added.
“In Delhi, children from urban slums are at a particular risk, especially newborns and infants [0-36 months] whose health entirely depends on the availability of the mother to breastfeed, the ability of the caretaker and household to provide nutritious meals, the quality of the public healthcare system and overall community support, said Pooja Mahajan, Nutritionist, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.
She explained that the causes of malnutrition includes lack of a balanced diet, poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, lack of proper sanitation, faulty infant feeding practices and early age of marriages. “Women education and literacy programmes can play an important role in improving the nutritional status of children,” said Dr. Mahajan. – The Hindu