Children in India 2012, compiled by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, found that child malnutrition in India is so severe that 48% children under the age of five are too short for their age.
Moreover, 19.8% of children in the same age group suffer from acute malnutrition, as evidenced by wasting.
The report says malnutrition is higher among children whose mothers are illiterate or have less than five years’ education. The percentage of underweight children in the lowest wealth index category (56.6%) is nearly three times higher than that in the highest category (19.7%).
Overall, rural India is witnessing more malnutrition among children under 5 years, with a higher percentage of stunted, wasted and underweight children being reported from the hinterland. The worst performing states with underweight children are Madhya Pradesh (60 per cent), Jharkhand (56.5 per cent) and Bihar (55.9 per cent).