More hospital births, but limited gains in childhood nutrition: National Family Health Survey-5

The total fertility rate fell to 2.0, indicating the replacement level only.

Births in institutional settings, such as a hospital, improved by nearly eight percentage points, but babies who were stunted or showed signs of wasting only decreased by a maximum of three percentage points, a comparison of the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) and NFHS-4.

The full results of the NFHS-5 were announced on Wednesday. NFHS-4 was released in 2014-2015 and the most recent one, which recorded population health indicators in 2017-2019, has been delayed due to the pandemic.

More hospital births, but limited gains in childhood nutrition: National Family Health Survey - 5

Growth under examination

India also officially achieved a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.0 indicating a decrease from 2.2 in NFHS-4. According to the United Nations Population Division, the total fertility rate of about 2.1 children per woman is called the replacement level. If the level of fertility replacement is maintained over a sufficiently long period, each generation will completely replace itself. The TFR in urban areas is 1.6 while the TFR in rural areas is 2.1

“This is an important achievement for the country’s family planning program, which does not include coercive policies. These findings break the myth of the population explosion and show that India must move away from coercive measures to control the population. While the increase in the use of modern contraceptives is heartening, the The increase in female sterilization coupled with the continued stagnation in uptake of male sterilization shows that the burden of family planning continues to fall on women,” Population Foundation of India, a non-governmental organization, said. in the current situation.

A comprehensive survey of key differences between national annexes NFHS-5 and NFHS-4 indicates that contraceptive use improved from 53.5% to 66.7% in the most recent NFHS-5 and institutional deliveries increased from 78.9% to 88.6%.

The proportion of children (12-23 months) who were fully vaccinated improved from 62%-76%, and children under 6 months who were exclusively breastfed showed a sharp improvement from 54.9 to 63.7%.

Nutrition Concerns

However, there were mixed signals in nutrition. Although gains in childhood nutrition were small, women and men (15-49) who had a lower-than-normal body mass index (BMI) each decreased by about four percentage points. Those who were overweight (or had a BMI above ideal) increased by about 4 percentage points. Abnormal body mass indexes are associated with increased obesity and other non-communicable diseases (NCD).

India’s battle with anemia also appears to have faltered. The proportion of anemic children (5-59 months) increased from 58% to 67%. Women aged 15-49 years with anemia increased from 53% to 57% and men of the same age increased from 29% to 31% between both editions of NFHS.

One expert said an undernourished diet likely explains the rise in obesity.

“What is shocking to the body is the increase in those who are overweight, the very high burden of non-communicable diseases and the very difficult findings on the waist-hip ratio. 56.7% of women and 47.7% of men have a high risk for a waist-to-hip ratio,” she said. Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute: “What we will see is that many of these diseases are diet related, especially the quality of people’s diet and what people can tolerate.

Slow and steady progress [is seen] on dwarfism, which seems to come from the change taking place in major states like Uttar Pradesh among others. She said these are results that depend on multiple interventions and take longer to achieve.

NFHS-5 results from 22 countries and UTs covered in the first phase were released in December 2020 and the rest includes Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil announced Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Wednesday.

The NFHS-5 survey was conducted in about 6.1 thousand households from 707 districts (as in March 2017) of the country; Covering 7,24,115 women and 1,01,839 men to provide detailed estimates down to the county level.

NFHS-5 includes some new areas of focus, such as death registration, preschool education, expanded scopes for child immunization, pediatric micronutrient components, menstrual hygiene, alcohol and tobacco use frequency, additional components of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), expanded age ranges To measure hypertension and diabetes among all persons aged 15 years and over, which will give the necessary inputs to strengthen existing programs and develop new strategies for policy intervention.


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