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The face of famine

By Sandhya Srinivasan

Forty-three per cent of all children under 5 in India are underweight, and more than half of all under-5 deaths are linked to malnutrition. One in three adults too is underweight, and 60% of deaths due to infectious diseases are caused by the coexistence of undernutrition. These figures represent a composite index of chronic and acute deprivation and hunger. As Dr Binayak Sen says, the poor are walking with famine by their side


Health through the hunger lens

By Yogesh Jain with Jan Swasthya Sahyog

In tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh, where this writer works, men and women are at least 10 kg lighter than the reference Indian, and even the popular PDS rice scheme lasts a family only 11 days. The high burden of all diseases, from TB and malaria to cancer and heart disease, has clear links with the 'lifestyle' of poverty and hunger in this region


Layperson’s guide to nutrition and malnutrition

By Ramani Atkuri with Jan Swasthya Sahyog

Malnutrition underlies 50% of all under-5 deaths worldwide. What are the links between malnutrition and ill-health? How is malnutrition to be determined and measured?


The career of hunger: Critical reflections on the history of nutrition science and policy-Part 1

By Veena Shatrugna

Nutrition research in 1920-30 'extracted' about 10-15 nutrients out of nearly 900 foods: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins. By 1950, Indian scientists were estimating people's requirements based on their own largely vegetarian diets, prioritising cost and recommending a diet of cereal for the nation and excluding animal protein. This exclusively cereal diet underlies the profile of malnutrition and disease today


What individuals spend on a monthly food basket

By Rahul Goswami

Though the amounts spent on cereals are largely the same, there are clear differences between the spending of rural and urban consumers on milk and milk products, sugar and oil. Urban consumers spend 104% more than rural consumers on beverages, refreshments and processed foods


The poor spend more of their income, but eat less

By Sachin Kumar Jain

The top 10% in rural areas spend Rs 913 per capita per month on food -- just 38.1% of their total expenditure per month -- to get 2,617 calories, 73.8 gm of protein and 65.5 gm of fat daily. The bottom 10% spend 66.5% of their total expenditure per month on food -- just Rs 251 per capita per month -- for a mere 1,545 calories, 40.7 gm of protein and 19.5 gm of fat daily


Land alienation and starvation

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

From the south to the northeast, health professionals and social scientists working at the grassroots report that adivasis are at the bottom of the nutritional ladder, worse off than dalits in most cases. Where adivasis retain control over even a small piece of land, there is some food security. It is the landless who are on the brink of starvation


The shadow of hunger

By Aditya Malaviya

Baran is one of 22 districts in Rajasthan designated ‘food insecure’. The Sahariya tribals who have a per capita income of roughly Rs 7 a day live in the shadow of hunger, with not enough money to buy even BPL rations. Children are brought up on little more than bajra rotis with salt and chillies and, not surprisingly, child deaths from hunger are reported every few months


Poor fare

By Rajashri Dasgupta

This article details how the urban poor stave off hunger, cooking just one meal a day, scrounging for chicken waste, and making do with the empty calories offered by street food. Even the nutritious sattu that Kolkata’s poor traditionally survived on now costs Rs 9 a portion and is beyond the reach of many


The underfed and the unscrupulous

By Shahina K K

In Raichur district of Karnataka, where over 4,500 children face acute malnutrition and 2,689 have died of malnutrition in two years, there is a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. The greater the problem, the higher the multi-crore contracts for supply of completely inedible, even dangerous, supplementary food packets to anganwadis



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