As per National Family Health Survey-3, 2005-06, the prevalence of chronic energy deficiency (measured as low Body Mass Index) is 36.4% and 35.1% in Hindu and Muslim women aged 15-49 years and prevalence of anemia is 55.9% and 54.7% respectively. Thus, there appears to be no Hindu – Muslim divide on women suffering from malnutrition, the Minister of Women and Child Development Smt. Krishna Tirath stated in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.
The problem of malnutrition is complex, multi-dimensional and inter-generational in nature. The approach to dealing with the nutrition challenges has been two pronged: Multi-sectoral approach for accelerated action on the determinants of malnutrition in targeting nutrition in schemes/ programmes of all the sectors. As the multi-sectoral approach takes some time to show results and when implemented together, have a trickle down and horizontal effect to benefit the population over a period of time, other part of the approach is direct and specific interventions targeted towards the vulnerable groups such as children below 6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating mothers, she replied.
The Minister stated that the Government has accorded priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes /programmes of different Ministries/Departments through State Governments/UT Administrations which directly or indirectly have an impact on the nutritional status of the children. Several of the schemes namely, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM ), Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDM, Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) have been expanded in recent years to provide for increased coverage and improved services to the people and the impact of these schemes are likely to be visible after some time.
Further, to improve the nutritional status, nutrition education of the people, individually and collectively, forms an integral component of several of the above schemes such as the ICDS, NRHM, etc and is also undertaken by using different media such as mass media, print media, folk media etc
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