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SRINAGAR — Children’s nutritional status in Jammu and Kashmir has worsened in the last four years, a national survey has revealed, underlining that continuing high levels of undernutrition are “a major problem” in the Union Territory.

The news agency KNO has learnt that the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that the 27 per cent of children who are stunted has not changed in the four years between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. “The percentage of children who are underweight increased from 12 per cent to 19 per cent, and in the same period, wasting increased slightly from 17 per cent to 21 per cent,” reveals the survey.

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The survey, which is considered to be baseline data for health research studies in the country, further says differences in the levels of malnutrition in J&K are more pronounced for several background characteristics and that malnutrition is somewhat higher for male children than for female children on all three nutritional status measures.

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in the person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients including undernutrition and overweight, and obesity.

In the case of adults’ nutritional status, more than two-fifths that includes 35 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men are either too thin or overweight or obese. “Among women aged 15-49, the proportion of overweight or obese is 29 per cent, which is the same as NFHS-4,” the NFHS-5 reveals, adding that more men are overweight or obese (32%) than thin (4%) similar to the pattern observed in the last survey.

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“Five per cent of women in Jammu and Kashmir are too thin. Over three-fifths of women and men are at a healthy weight for their height,” the survey reveals.

It also reveals that undernutrition is widespread in the younger age groups (especially ages 15-19), those in rural areas, and women of scheduled tribes. “Overweight and obesity are more prevalent in older adults than those in urban areas, and well-educated men,” the survey says.

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