New Delhi: The recently released End of Childhoods Index report 2017 titled “Stolen Childhood” paints a grim picture of India when it comes to child malnutrition.
According to the report by Save the Children, a non-profit organisation based in USA, India with 48.2 million has the largest number of children under the age of 5 who are either moderately or severely stunted.
Among 172 nations, India is ranked number one, which raises concerns over the disturbing health conditions of our children.
“A young child who does not get enough food and nutrients cannot grow properly and can become too short for his/her age. This condition is called “stunting” and it prevents children from developing to their full potential, both mentally and physically,” the report stated.
“Stunting is caused by, and contributes to, vicious inter generational cycles of poverty. Mothers who are undernourished are more likely to have undernourished children. Stunted children often perform poorly in school and have fewer professional opportunities later in life, so they earn less, and perpetuate poverty in their families. Low income, lack of health care and reduced access to proper nutrition will continue to impact their children,” the report stated.
While countries like Norway, Finland and Ireland topped the list of Countries where childhood is least threatened with highest number of scores, countries like India, Nepal, Somalia and Pakistan secured spots at lower levels with lowest scores.
“Children in these countries (ranked low) are least likely to fully experience childhood, a time that should be dedicated to emotional, social and physical development, as well as play. In these and many other countries around the world, children are robbed of significant portions of their childhoods,” the report stated.
According the the report, poor children are more likely to be forced into work than their wealthier counterparts.
“The highest national rates of child labor are found in sub-Saharan Africa. In Cameroon, 47 percent of children are engaged in child labor. In Somalia, 49 percent are working.”
In a case study of Afghanistan, the report tells the story of 17-year-old Majerah who was married at the age of 14 to a man 10 years elder to her.
“She has been hit by her husband several times. He tells her if she is unable to have a baby within the next couple of months, he will remarry,” the report stated.
(Feature image source: Reuters and Utkarsh Tyagi/ScoopWhoop)