Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Child Food Poverty: Nutrition Deprivation in Early Childhood Report

Syllabus- Governance [GS Paper-2]


A recent report titled “Child Food Poverty: Nutrition Deprivation in Early Childhood” has been released by UNICEF.


  • It analyses the influences and causes of dietary deprivation among the world’s children in nearly 100 countries, and across income groups.
  • The report focuses on low- and middle-income countries, in which most children living in child food poverty are living, and on the implications of child food poverty for undernutrition and poor development.
  • It examines the popularity, traits, inequities and drivers of child food poverty in early adolescence.

Child Food Poverty (CFP)

    • UNICEF defines child food poverty as children’s incapability to get admission to and consume a nutritious and numerous food plan in early adolescence (i.e., the first 5 years of life).
  • Key findings encompass
    • Globally, one in 4 children are living in severe child food poverty in early life, amounting to 181 million children under 5 years of age.
    • Millions of parents and households are suffering to offer nutritious and numerous foods that children need to reach their full capacity.
    • The worldwide food and nutrition crisis and localized conflicts and climatic shocks are intensifying excessive child food poverty, especially in fragile countries.
    • Global efforts are slow in ending Child Food Poverty (CFP).
    • Severe child food poverty impacts all regions of the sector, but not similarly: South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are home to more than two-thirds (68 percent) of the 181 million children living in severe child food poverty.

Status of Child Food Poverty in India

  • Severe Food Poverty: India is a few of the 20 countries that account for 65% of the entire quantity of children living in intense child food poverty between 2018-2022, as per a UNICEF report.
  • Inequities: While India has reduced the gap in extreme CFP among poorer and wealthier households in the remaining decade, disparities nonetheless exist based on socioeconomic fame, caste, gender, and geographical area.
  • Micronutrient Deficiencies: A sizable variety of children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, in particular anemia (iron deficiency), which influences cognitive development and gaining knowledge of skills.
  • Zero-Food Children: A report posted in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health in 2023 found that 19.3% of Indian children under 5 years old experienced zero-food days, that means they’d not consumed any food in a 24-hour period. This figure is the highest of the 92 low- and middle-income countries surveyed.


  • Health Impacts: CFP is the leading cause of malnutrition in children, that could happen as stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), and underweight (low weight for age).
    • CFP increases the chance of childhood illnesses including diarrhea, pneumonia, and measles, and can cause premature death.
  • Impaired Cognitive Development: Malnutrition for the duration of the vital early years of development may have irreversible results on mind development, leading to decreased cognitive capabilities.
  • Reduced Productivity: Malnourished children grow up to be less effective adults with reduced physical and intellectual capacity, limiting their earning potential and financial contribution to society.
  • Increased Healthcare Costs: CFP leads to better healthcare expenditure for households and the government because of the accelerated need for clinical remedy and hospitalization.
  • Social Exclusion and Stigma: Children affected by CFP and their households may also face social exclusion and discrimination, leading to in addition marginalization.
  • Loss of Human Capital: CFP deprives the nation of its most precious asset – its human capital.
  • Increased Burden on Healthcare System: The elevated healthcare wishes of malnourished children placed a stress on the healthcare system, diverting assets from different essential services.

Challenges in Handling CFP in India

  • Economic Inequality: The high percent of the populace not able to have enough money and a healthful diet is a root cause of child food poverty. 
  • Inadequate Dietary Intake: The shift towards processed ingredients, regularly lacking important nutrients, exacerbates the problem.
  • Poor Sanitation: The lack of access to proper sanitation facilities will increase the hazard of infections and diseases, which can further worsen malnutrition and hinder nutrient absorption.
  • Lack of Health Infrastructure: The low density of docs and nurses, especially in rural regions, limits access to healthcare services. This method children tormented by malnutrition might not get hold of well timed diagnosis or treatment.


  • To address child malnutrition governments and companions need to spend money on actions to improve children’s access to various and nutritious diets and end intense child food poverty.
  • UNICEF calls on national governments, development and humanitarian partners, donors, civil society and media, instructional and research groups to:
    • Transform food structures by making sure food environments make nutritious, various and healthy foods the most on hand, low cost and appropriate alternative for feeding young children, and the food and beverage industry complies with policies to protect children from unhealthy foods and beverages.
    • Leverage health structures to supply vital nutrition services, which include counselling and help on child feeding, to prevent and deal with child malnutrition, prioritizing the most vulnerable children.
    • Activate social safety systems to address earnings poverty in ways which can be attentive to the food and nutrition needs of the most susceptible children and their families, which includes social transfers to defend children at highest risk of child food poverty.
    • Strengthen information systems to evaluate the prevalence and severity of child food poverty; detect will increase in child food poverty early, together with in fragile and humanitarian contexts; and music national and international development in reducing severe child food poverty.

Source: UNICEF


UPSC Mains practice Question

Q. How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India? (2018)

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