Hyderabad: Telangana ranks lowest among south Indian states across parameters pertaining to nutrition for women and children. This was revealed in the recently released findings of National Family and Health Survey - 5.
Only nine per cent of children in the 6-23 months age-group in the state are getting the minimum acceptable diet, which is a WHO parameter to assess feeding practices of infants and young children. It takes into account whether the children are breastfed, the number of food groups they consume and the number of meals they eat. Among south Indian states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh rank poorly on this count.
Another parameter in which Telangana fares the worst is prevalence of anaemia in children within the 6-59 months age-group, which is at 70 per cent.
Nutritional parameters for the state’s women are also far from ideal. The prevalence of anaemia in women, at 57.6 per cent, is the second highest in the south after AP (58.8 per cent). The percentage of women whose body mass index (BMI) is lower than 17, and are hence classified as moderately or severely thin, is 8.7 per cent, again the highest among southern states. Nutritionists attribute Telangana’s parameters to multiple factors.
Chief dietician at SLG Hospitals Dr Bathula Arun Kumar says that in the state’s rural areas, there is hardly any awareness about the need to have nutritious food. Added to that most of them eat non-vegetarian food quite frequently, he said.
Dietician at KIMS Hospital, Kondapur, Dr S.L. Priyadarshini Kadiyala said major lifestyle-related reasons among Hyderabadis were leading to a lack of nutrition. She said negligence on the part of parents, such as ordering outside food too often, preparing carb-heavy rather than nutritious meals and lack of any physical activity were contributing to the problem.