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India could be role model for eradicating malnutrition: Experts

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Terming malnutrition a global issue involving people from all financial backgrounds, health experts Wednesday said India could be a role model in dealing with the problem.

They said almost every country, rich or poor, faces a serious public health risk due to malnutrition either from under nutrition, obesity or micro nutrient deficiencies.

Releasing the Global Nutrition Report here in a conference - "From Data Deserts to Fertile Facts: Unleashing the power of data on nutrition in India" - a panel of experts said India was a "rising power house" and the world was looking at it to see how it deals with problems like this.

"Nutrition-wise India is important simply because of its size and the vast programmes it runs to deal with the issue," said Lawrence Haddad, co-author of the report and fellow of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Speaking on the occasion, Odisha's Health and Family Welfare Secretary Arti Ahuja said reduction of under nutrition requires concerted action across the board.

"Many states in India have made significant interventions in this regard, and the positive results are becoming visible now," said Ahuja, who is a member of the Independent Expert Group for the Global Nutrition Report.

The report tracks worldwide progress for all 193 UN member countries in improving their nutrition status by bringing together data on more than 80 nutrition indicators, including programme coverage, underlying determinants such as food security and water, sanitation and hygiene, resource allocations and political commitments.

It aims to contribute to country-led efforts to strengthen accountability and accelerate the reduction of malnutrition.

Haddad said new preliminary data from India suggests a faster improvement in the reduction of malnutrition than anticipated. Yet, with the lowest rank among 100 countries, India is vulnerable on sanitation and other underlying determinants for under nutrition, Haddad added.

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First Published: Wed, February 04 2015. 21:16 IST