National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4) shows that 58.4 per cent of Indian children below five years of age are anaemic. The survey, which is the largest-ever assessment of the country’s health and family welfare indicators, also found that around 38 per cent of children in the same age group were stunted, whereas 21 per cent were wasted and 36 per cent underweight. As per the 2011 Census data, the total number of children under five in India in 2015 is projected at 12.4 crore. The NFHS-4 shows that around 7.2 crore children are anaemic, nearly 5 crore are stunted; while around 2.6 crore are wasted and 4.4 crore are underweight. The survey also showed that just over half of all pregnant women were anaemic. Overall, 53% of women and 23% of men in the 15-49 age groups were anaemic. Meanwhile, the survey, which was released recently by the Health Ministry, also showed that India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) reduced by 16 points over the last 10 years – 41 children below the age of one died per 1,000 live births, down from 57 a decade ago. The survey, released after a decade, reveals a 24-point reduction in under-five mortality rate: from 74 children under five dying for every 1,000 live births in 2005-06, it is now 50 – comparable to the poorer African island nation of Madagascar.

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