Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview

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According to the report entitled 2015 Global Hunger Index: Armed Conflict and the Challenge of Hunger (released in October 2015), produced by International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe and World Peace Foundation/Tufts University, (please click here to access):

• The present report’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) scores are based on a new, improved formula that  replaces child underweight, previously the sole indicator of child undernutrition, with two indicators of child undernutrition—child wasting and child stunting—which are equally weighted in the GHI calculation. The revised formula also standardizes each of the component indicators to balance their contribution to the overall index and to changes in the GHI scores over time.

• The 2015 GHI has been calculated for 117 countries for which data on the four component indicators are available and where measuring hunger is considered most relevant. GHI scores are not calculated for some higher income countries where the prevalence of hunger is very low. The GHI is only as current as the data for its four component indicators.

• This year's GHI reflects the most recent available country-level data and projections available between 2010 and 2016. It therefore reflects the hunger levels during this period rather than solely capturing conditions in 2015. The 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2015 GHI scores reflect the latest revised data for the four component indicators of the GHI. Where original source data were not available, the estimates of the GHI component indicators were based on the most recent data available.

• The four component indicators used to calculate the GHI scores draw upon data from the following sources:

1. Undernourishment: Updated data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) were used for the 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2015 GHI scores. Undernourishment data and projections for the 2015 GHI are for 2014-2016.

2. Child wasting and stunting: The child undernutrition indicators of the GHI—child wasting and child stunting—include data from the joint database of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, and additional data from WHO's continuously updated Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition; the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) reports; statistical tables from UNICEF; and the latest national survey data for India from UNICEF India. For the 2015 GHI, data on child wasting and child stunting are for the latest year for which data are available in the period 2010-2014.

3. Child mortality: Updated data from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation were used for the 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005, and 2015 GHI scores. For the 2015 GHI, data on child mortality are for 2013.

• India ranks 80 among 117 countries during 2015 in terms of GHI score. The country has improved its GHI score to 29 in 2015 from 38.5 in 2005. A lower number means fewer people are going hungry.

• As compared to India, China's ranking is 21 (GHI score: 8.6)and Pakistan's ranking is 93 (GHI score: 33.9) in 2015.

• Based on the new formula, India's GHI score was 48.1 in 1990, 42.3 in 1995, 38.2 in 2000, 38.5 in 2005 and 29.0 in 2015.

• The proportion of undernourished in the population of India was 23.7 percent in 1990-92, 21.6 percent in 1994-96, 17.0 percent in 1999-2001, 21.2 percent in 2004-06 and 15.2 percent in 2014-16.

• The prevalence of wasting among Indian children under 5-years was 20.3 percent in 1988-92, 19.1 percent in 1993-97, 17.1 percent in 1998-2002, 20.0 percent in 2003-07 and 15.0 percent in 2010-14.

• The prevalence of stunting among Indian children under 5-years was 62.7 percent in 1988-92, 51.8 percent in 1993-97, 54.2 percent in 1998-2002, 47.9 percent in 2003-07 and 38.8 percent in 2010-14.

• The under-five mortality in India was 12.6 percent in 1990, 10.9 percent in 1995, 9.1 percent in 2000, 7.5 percent in 2005 and 5.3 percent in 2013.

• According to the most recent data from India, wasting in children fell from 20 percent to 15 percent between 2005–2006 and 2013–2014, and stunting fell from 48 percent to 39 percent in the same period.

• The authors of the report inform that data on India’s child stunting and wasting rates in 2013–2014 were provisional and were obtained in 2014 through personal communication with India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development.

• The report informs that the Government of India has scaled up nutrition-specific interventions over the past decade, including (1) a final drive to expand the Integrated Child Development Services program that aims to improve the health, nutrition, and development of children in India; and (2) the creation of the National Rural Health Mission, a community-based health initiative designed to deliver essential health services to rural India. However, progress in reducing child undernutrition has been uneven across India’s states. While the reasons for the improvements—or lack thereof—are not entirely clear, one factor that seems to correlate with undernutrition in India is open defecation, which contributes to illnesses that prevent the absorption of nutrients. Additionally, the low social status of women, which affects women’s health and nutrition, makes it more likely that babies will be born underweight.

Rural Expert

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