Prevalence of Undernutrition and Anemia among the Child Beneficiaries of Mid-Day Meal Program

G. Sireesha, D. L. Kusuma

Abstract


Estimates suggest that over one third of the World’s population suffer from anemia; primarily due to iron deficiency and India is projected to be one of the countries with very high prevalence. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-III) reveals that the prevalence of anemia is 70-80% among Indian children. Anemia is an indicator of gross under nutrition and it affects the physical growth, cognitive performance and behavior of children. The objective of Mid-Day Meal program (MDM) was to control under nutrition and the probable anemic state among school children. In this background the present study was undertaken to examine the prevalence of anemia among the child beneficiaries of 8 to 10 years of age. The Male and Female children (no: 776) attending the Urban municipal upper primary schools in Tirupati (AP) composed the subjects of the study. A general information survey revealed that all the children belonged to low socio economic status. The data on anthropometry indicate that 37.5 and 36.1% children belong to the stunted and stunted & wasted type of malnutrition. Only 26.4% children were in the normal category. Prevalence of anemia was assessed through Cyanmethaemoglobin method. The results were interpreted using WHO cut-off values for classification of anemia into different degrees. The data revealed that of the 776 children studied, 19.6, 40.6 and 0.2% were in mild, moderate and severe anemic states, respectively. About 40% children were in the normal category having Hb values > 11.5g/dl. While MDM program is satisfactory in terms its nutrition contribution, the low food intake of children during other meals appear to bring down the days nutrient intake resulting in under nutrition and anemia. The results thus focus on the need for routine iron supplementation for the school going children to decrease the very high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia, till the time the child’s daily nutritional needs are taken care-of.

Keywords


Mid-day Meal; School Children; Anemia; Malnutrition

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