What are the key contributors for India's double burden of malnutrition as well as over-nutrition at some places? Discuss the possible solution to the problems.
The increasing income differences have widened the gap between the rich and poor and thus has put India in a position in which it was not before. In the past also India did face the problem of malnourishment but not at this level, which it is experiencing now. While on hand the problem of malnutrition is a big concern, on other hand the problem of being overweight is also arising. Thus the present situation is a perfect example of paradoxical situation, popularly known as the Double Burden of Malnutrition (DBM).
Some of the factors causing DBM are nutrition transition, the demographic transition, and the epidemiological transition of countries. The factors associated with the nutrition transition and obesity epidemic is classified into four categories as –
- Health/biological environment: which talks about an individual’s starting point and the influence of genetics on one’s health;
- Economic/Food Environment: it includes factors such as the availability and quality of food near to home, as well as economic access to food which influences consumption;
- Physical/Built Environment: it includes those factors which influences an individual’s activity or behaviour;
- Socio-Cultural Environment: it stresses on the influence of media, education, peer pressure, culture etc. and how these affect a person’s individual drive for particular foods and consumption patterns or physical preferences.
Considering India’s situation on it, a look at the district map suggests many things about DBM such as that most of the high-obesity districts are found mainly in the extreme northern and southern part of the country. Furthermore, the central part of is more dominant in the instances of undernourishment. The observation also suggests that there is a strong correlation between affluence, obesity and lifestyle diseases since districts with rich households like TV, computer, phone, and motorised two-wheeler/four-wheeler tends to have a higher proportion of obese people and lower proportion of underweight people. It further suggests that the districts with low levels of toilet access have high levels of undernutrition and low levels of obesity and other way round.
This health problem can be resolved by several ways such as by adopting healthy eating habit, including nutrition as part of urban planning, focusing on the health of adolescent girls, pregnant women( particularly in village areas) and doing other such similar activities.
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