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The wider effects of nutrition research: History of nutrition science and policy-Part 2

By Veena Shatrugna

The decision to focus on calories from cheap sources of food influenced many of independent India’s major policy decisions such as the shamefully low poverty line, a minimum wage to meet these low dietary requirements, a public distribution system limited to cereals, and high-input monoculture to produce these cereals. The combined results are seen in the undernutrition and catastrophic health profiles of Indians today. Micronutrient programmes are the natural extension of this policy


Approaches to malnutrition and the writ of a compartmented government

By Rahul Goswami

The absence of inter-sectoral programmes covering the entire lifecycle of women and children in particular and requiring coordination between different ministries such as women and child development, health and family welfare, agriculture, food processing and human resource development, is the reason why, at the start of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period (2012-17), the fundamental causes of malnutrition in India remain as they were during the First Five-Year Plan


Commodifying malnutrition

By Radha Holla

Government is abdicating its responsibility to guarantee the food and health rights of its people by entering into partnerships with the commercial sector. Corporations are only too happy to capitalise on malnutrition by supplying pre-mixed food packets to anganwadis instead of hot cooked meals, trumpeting their social responsibility even as they create markets for their fortified foods and use nutrition education to build brand loyalty for the future


Plumpy Nut or indigenous foods?

By Vandana Prasad

Imported ready-to-use therapeutic foods such as Plumpy Nut are being pushed to supplant locally prepared indigenous foods in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, ignoring the multiple causes of malnutrition and destroying the diversity of potential solutions based on locally available foods


Micro, bio and packaged -- how India’s nutrition mix is being reshaped

By Rahul Goswami

Crop and food multinationals, ably assisted by government, are using the 'reduce hidden hunger' platform to push hunger-busting technologies that best suit them -- including biofortification of crops, the use of supplementation, and of commercial fortification of prepared and processed foods


Universal malnutrition?

By Sridhar Srikantiah

All children in India display a slower growth rate, but we look only at those that have ‘fallen’ below the cut-off and call the rest ‘normal’. Surely poverty and hunger cannot be the only cause of this near-universal malnutrition? Is malnutrition caused by not feeding our children enough dal, milk, eggs, meat and vegetables, in addition to cereals, in the first two years? Does that explain why cereal-based ICDS food supplements are ineffective in reducing malnutrition? 


Mal-Mal approach to malnutrition

By John Oommen

The determinants of nutritional status are different from place to place. The Mitra programme in adivasi areas of Orissa where 35% of children would die before the age of five, found a strong correlation between prevalence of malaria and malnutrition. Treating children for malaria immediately saw their weights jump. Identifying and dealing with specific local factors could change the game for malnourished children and communities


Combating under-3 malnutrition

By Ramani Atkuri with Jan Swasthaya Sahyog

In the Jan Swasthya Sahyog's 72 creches across 30 Chhattisgarh villages, children aged six months to three years are given three meals that cover two-thirds of their daily requirement of calories and protein. The cost per child per day is Rs 17, but the payoffs in terms of their nutritional status and health are unquestionable


‘Malnutrition will not change unless women exclusively breastfeed’

By Sharmila Joshi

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life provides comprehensive nutrition and also passes on the mother’s immunity from certain infections. Neonatologist Armida Fernandez, who started the first human milk bank in India, discusses why many women stop breastfeeding, the medical profession’s response, and the community’s role in supporting women


‘The Food Security Bill is regressive’

The Planning Commission’s minimalist starvation line is perverse, says Biraj Patnaik, who has been working on the Right to Food Campaign for over a decade. If the government cannot move towards universal coverage for all rights, including food, it should stop expending energy on identifying the poor and should instead identify and exclude the rich from entitlements meant for the poor