Access to sanitary latrines & child nutritional status are inter-linked, shows new urban survey

Access to sanitary latrines & child nutritional status are inter-linked, shows new urban survey


On the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, cleanliness drives were officially organised across the country so as to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. A few days before 2nd October, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), released a report that attempts to connect the dots between sanitation and nutritional status of children.

Please click here to access the survey report from NIN.  

On the basis of a comprehensive urban nutrition survey, which was carried out among 3,600 households in 16 states during 2015-16, the technical report from National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) has found that the prevalence of under-nutrition is highest among children belonging to those households who do not have access to sanitary latrines.

As could be observed from chart-1, in urban areas the proportion of underweight, stunting and wasting is highest among those boys (below 5 years) who belong to households without any access to sanitary latrines i.e. 43.0 percent, 50.2 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively. The proportion of under-nutrition (for all 3 categories i.e. underweight, stunting and wasting) is lowest among those boys (below 5 years) who belong to households having and using sanitary latrines.

Chart 1: Prevalence of under-nutrition among urban boys below 5 years by use of sanitary latrine (in %)
 
Chart 1 Prevalence of undernutrition among urban boys below 5 years

Source: Diet and Nutritional Status of Urban Population in India and Prevalence of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia in Urban Men and Women, NNMB, NIN

In urban areas, the proportion of underweight, stunting and wasting is highest among those girls (below 5 years) who belong to households without any access to sanitary latrines i.e. 40.5 percent, 44.6 percent and 19.7 percent, respectively. The proportion of under-nutrition (for all 3 categories i.e. underweight, stunting and wasting) is lowest among those girls (below 5 years) who belong to households having and using sanitary latrines. Please see chart-2.

Chart 2: Prevalence of under-nutrition among urban girls below 5 years by use of sanitary latrine (in %)
 
Chart 2 Prevalence of undernutrition among urban girls below 5 years
 
Source: Diet and Nutritional Status of Urban Population in India and Prevalence of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia in Urban Men and Women, NNMB, NIN

It can be mentioned here that the Swachh Survekshan 2017 had found that out of 500 cities, only 118 cities are Open Defecation Free (ODF). Please click here to access the report.

In a recent interview given to The Caravan Magazine, economist Diane Coffey said that although the government is promoting construction of affordable latrines, people prefer open defecation instead of using latrines on account of social taboo and caste-based prejudices. Emptying the pits of affordable latrines (when they get filled up) is considered as either a taboo or an unpleasant job. Please click here to access the interview.

Diane Coffey and Dean Spears, both visiting scholars at Indian Statistical Institute in Delhi and also assistant professors at the University of Texas at Austin, have found in their research that as a result of poor sanitation, rural children die young and those who survive grow up physically and cognitively stunted.

Nutritional status of children in urban India

According to the NIN urban survey, the overall prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting among children below 5 years during 2015-16 was 25.1 percent, 28.7 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively.

The fourth round of National Family Health Survey (i.e. NFHS-4) had found that the prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting among children below 5 years in urban areas during 2015-16 was 29.1 percent, 31.0 percent and 20.0 percent, respectively. However, the NIN and NFHS-4 survey results may not be strictly comparable.

Table 1: Prevalence of under-nutrition among children belonging to SC, ST, OBC & other households (in %)
 
Table 1 Prevalence of undernutrition among children belonging to SC ST OBC & other households

Source: Diet and Nutritional Status of Urban Population in India and Prevalence of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia in Urban Men and Women, NNMB, NIN

From the table-1, it could be noted that the prevalence of under-nutrition (for all 3 categories i.e. underweight, stunting and wasting) is highest among SC boys and among SC girls vis-à-vis boys and girls belonging to different social backgrounds, respectively.  


References


Diet and Nutritional Status of Urban Population in India and Prevalence of Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Hyperlipidemia in Urban Men and Women, NNMB Brief Report on Urban Nutrition, National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau Technical Report no. 27, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), released on 25 September, 2017, please click here to access

Swachh Survekshan 2017, Ministry of Urban Development, please click here to access 

National Family Health Survey-4, http://rchiips.org/nfhs/factsheet_NFHS-4.shtml

National Family Health Survey-4 India Fact Sheet (2015-16), please click here to read more  

Prevalence of wasting among children is rising, shows NFHS-4 data, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change dated 17 May 2017, please click here to access 

Nutrition red flag in survey -GS Mudur, The Telegraph, 2 October, 2017, please click here to access 

PM Modi remembers Mahatma Gandhi on his 148th birth anniversary, The Times of India, IANS, 2 October, 2017, please click here to access

Diane Coffey, visiting researcher at Indian Statistical Institute (Delhi) and also assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, interviewed by Sagar, CaravanMagazine.in, 30 July, 2017, please click here to access 


Image Courtesy: Swachh Survekshan 2017

 



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