Jaipur: Higher level of malnutrition has been observed among children of migrants who change places in search of livelihood. Lack of food and nutrition security, feeding and dietary practices and illnesses to their mothers are some of the reasons identified for high levels of malnourishment, a study said.
The report titled ‘Understanding hunger and malnutrition among high migrant communities' conducted in south Rajasthan by Aajeevika Bureau and EdelGive Foundation, also revealed that more than half the children were underweight in those communities where migration was high.
Stunting or retarded growth was reported in 53 per cent of the children with 28 per cent of them severely so; 33 per cent are wasted (debilitated growth) with over 9 per cent of them severely so and one-fourth severely underweight.
Report also suggested inter-generational transfer of under-nutrition. When the mother is under-nourished, children are 1.8 times more likely to have severe malnutrition.
The study ‘Understanding hunger and malnutrition among high migrant communities' was done in four Panchayats in Udaipur division of south Rajasthan, a semi-arid region with a largely tribal population which owns small land holdings , and it was found that two had high levels of migrations and the other two low migration.
A total of 884 households from 13 villages, which had less than three children, were picked up for survey.
695 children under the age of three were weighed and measured as were 607 mothers. The median BMI (body mass index) of mothers was 18.1 with 58 per cent having a BMI of less than 18.5.
The other factors attributed to this problem are lesser availability of food, small land holdings which results in low produce and caring practises.
Only 58 per cent were breastfed, and porridge ( daliy), considered to be highly nutritious is available to less that 1 per cent of the children.
More than 60 per cent percent of children had access to Roti, making it the only food item available to them on daily basis.
The study further suggested, the anganwadi centres were less functional in areas with high migrating areas and the children of migrating families were less likely to be enrolled at the anganwadi centres where the government provides supplementary food to pre-school children.