India has most number of stunted children: Study [Health]
India is home to the world’s largest number of stunted children due to a lack of toilets, dirty water and poor hygiene, according to a new study.
India has more stunted children than Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Republic of Congo combined, with 48 million under the age of fi ve -- about 30 percent of the global total, a WaterAid report said.
Stunting is a form of malnutrition in which children are shorter than normal for their age and is largely irreversible after the age of two. If they survive, they grow up physically and intellectually weaker than their better-fed peers.
Lack of toilets and clean water are causing high levels of stunting in India. Contamination can spread disease and infection.
1,40,000 children die every year from diarrhoea in India, while 76 million do not have access to safe water and 774 million live without adequate sanitation.
India has the highest number of people in the world practising open defecation, which spreads deadly diseases and makes children more susceptible to diarrhoea and other infections.
Nigeria ranked second with 10.3 million stunted children while Pakistan stood third in WaterAid’s study with 9.9 million.
Impoverished Bangladesh fared better than its bigger, wealthier neighbour India, recording 5.5 million cases in its 160 million-strong population. The country has almost eliminated open defecation in just over a decade through a concerted campaign to build toilets.