Hunger, malnutrition and stunting

“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors in Britain are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.”
-Jonathan Sacks
Malnutrition is the lack of nutrients in the body necessary to grow and stay healthy. Doctors check for the following when testing for malnutrition:
• a person’s height and weight or body mass index (BMI) to check if he is healthy
• for other underlying diseases that usually occur as a side effect of malnutrition
• blood tests to check for deficit of vitamins and minerals
• physical and medical history to look and instruct the patient to do some tests on that basis
Some of the effects of malnutrition are:
• lower levels of observed energy
• dizziness
• weak immune system which makes it hard for the body to fight off minor injuries or infections
• swollen and bleeding gums
• other dental problems such as tooth decay
• slower than average reaction time
• difficulty in paying attention for extended time periods
• low body weight
• slow physical and mental growth
• muscle weakness
• bloating of stomach
• brittle bones
• problems in various organs
• difficulty memorizing information
“Our foremost priority is the removal of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. All social welfare programmes must be implemented efficiently. Agencies involved in the delivery of services should have a strong sense of duty and work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner.”
-Pratibha Patil
The Government can provide loans free of interest to people in dire need. Educational loans should also be made free of interest as it is one of the primary needs of mankind. The Government could also try and spread information about hunger and malnutrition in order to educate the youth of our nation. New schemes could be developed to aid disaster-stricken citizens. India ranked 94 among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2020. According to reports, 14 percent of India’s population is malnourished. Severe rates of stunting and malnutrition still plague our country to this day.
Very often more than not, extremely poor people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. They face several challenges like drought that do not let crops grow for extended periods of time. Sometimes all their crop may go to waste due to heavy showers of rain or flooding of rivers. Often their crops suffer due to improper usage of fertilizers and pesticides. This occurs since they have no education on how these things work, since the majority of the population suffering from poverty is uneducated. Farmers do not get any benefits while taking loans and they mostly lack the capital to spend in order to buy seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm equipment necessary to feed their crops. Educating people on proper nutrition, a balanced diet, sanitation and hygiene is an important step towards eradicating poverty. Poverty is the root cause of hunger and malnutrition. For communities depending upon natural resources for their livelihood, it is important to identify that they depend on a perishable source. Thus it is important for them to prepare for calamities and to save up on natural resources and use them wisely. Sometimes, families are suddenly struck with crisis. In these situations it is extremely important for humanitarian assistance to be provided to them, so that they do not fall victim to hunger and malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition also does not let a person work properly which in turn becomes a cause of poverty and ultimately contributes to the same.