Ensuring Diet Diversity
According to National Family Health Survey-4 (2005-06), only 9.6% children in India were fed a minimum acceptable diet. As per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (2016-18), conducted a few years later, the figure was even lower at 6.4%.
While most parts on India are not food scarce, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) can also occur in regions which are not food scarce but are nutrient scarce. The common diets in most rural and urban areas in the country are lopsided towards the consumption of carbohydrates like rice and wheat. Most existing nutrition related programmes, like the Supplementary Nutrition Programme under the ICDS and the Mid-Day Meal programme also focus heavily on providing a carbohydrate rich diet leaving the beneficiaries devoid of other nutrients.
To ensure dietary diversity, it is important to educate the community on nutrition. Counselling should be provided on how to prepare nutritious recipes with locally available foods, kitchen gardens should be set up near the houses in villages and the importance of consuming foods rich in all nutrients should be communicated to the members of the community.
Under POSHAN Abhiyan, there is a renewed focus on such initiatives like nutrition counselling and kitchen gardens, which will have the effect of ensuring a diverse diet for all children and ensure sustenance and enhancement of their nutritional status.