Nearly 25% of UP's adults are underweight, higher than the national average
Political commentaries and analyses about the recently concluded assembly elections in 5 states is not yet over. However, amidst the big debates and discussions on development and changing social dynamics, insufficient attention is being paid to the nutritional data that has been released early this year.
Among the 5 states where assembly polls were conducted recently, it is the state of Uttar Pradesh that has the highest proportion of adult men and women (that form a majority of the electorate) having below normal Body Mass Index (BMI) in 2015-16 i.e. 25.9 percent and 25.3 percent, respectively. It can, therefore, be said that roughly one-fourth of adult population in the state of Uttar Pradesh is underweight.
In the district of Gorakhpur, from where the Lok Sabha MP Shri Yogi Adityanath has become the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the proportion of adult men and women having below normal BMI is 25.1 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively. This has been revealed by the latest available data from the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4). Please click here to access.
In the district of Varanasi, from where the Lok Sabha MP Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India in 2014, the proportion of adult men and women having below normal BMI is 21.5 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively. Please click here to access.
It needs to be mentioned that the BMI, which is measured in kg per meter square, is actually defined as the body mass (measured in kilogram) divided by the square of the body height (measured in meters). If someone's BMI fall below 18.5 kg/ meter square, then that person can be categorised as underweight. There are various causes behind a low BMI, which includes disease, malnutrition, eating disorders, medication, etc.
Nutritional status among adults across various states & UTs
The latest available data on the nutritional status of adults from the NFHS-4 indicates that a little over one-fifth of the country's adult men as well as women, aged 15-49 years, have a BMI, which is below normal.
At the national-level, 22.9 percent of women and 20.2 percent of men (aged 15-49 years) have a BMI below 18.5 kg per meter square. Please check the interactive chart-1.
In 2005-06, 33.0 percent of women and 28.1 percent of men (aged 15-49 years) in India had below normal BMI, as per the NFHS-3.
Among different states, the prevalence of underweight problem among adult women is highest in Jharkhand (31.5 percent), followed by Bihar (30.4 percent), Madhya Pradesh (28.3 percent), Gujarat (27.2 percent) and Rajasthan (27.0 percent). Please check the interactive chart-1.
The proportion of women having below normal BMI is lowest in Sikkim (6.4 percent), followed by Mizoram (8.3 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (8.5 percent), Manipur (8.8 percent) and Kerala (9.7 percent), among various states.
A state-wise comparison shows that the proportion of men having below normal BMI in 2015-16 is highest in Madhya Pradesh (28.4 percent), followed by Uttar Pradesh (25.9 percent), Bihar (25.4 percent), Gujarat (24.7 percent) and Chhattisgarh (24.1 percent). Please check the interactive chart-1.
The proportion of men having below normal BMI in 2015-16 is lowest in Sikkim (2.4 percent), followed by Mizoram (7.2 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (8.3 percent), Kerala (8.5 percent) and Goa (10.8 percent), among different states.
The gender difference in the proportion of persons having below normal BMI is highest in Jharkhand, followed by Odisha, Assam (also Bihar), Haryana and Maharashtra.
It needs to be mentioned that the NFHS-4 fact sheets are now available for all the 29 states and 7 Union Territories (UTs).
NFHS-4 Fact Sheets for Key Indicators based on final data,
Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) Fact Sheet NFHS-4 2015-16, please click here to access
Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) Fact Sheet NFHS-4 2015-16, please click here to access
NFHS-3 Fact Sheets for Key Indicators based on final data,
Image Courtesy: Himanshu Joshi