50 percent of adolescent girls are anaemic and underweight, states survey

Mumbai: Anaemia is one of the biggest problems among country’s adolescents, with more than 50 per cent suffering from the disease caused by the shortage of mineral iron in the body. According to the survey conducted by the Nanhi Kali Foundation it revealed most of the girls in rural areas are anaemic at their adolescent as they do not get enough nutritious food.

The world is home to 1.2 billion adolescents and India has the largest population of adolescents in the world — 253 million — and every fifth adolescent in the world is an Indian and every second adolescent an Asian,” added experts.

As much as 80 per cent of the surveyed girls are living in cities and rural areas. The survey focused on whether the adolescent girls are getting adequate health facilities from the government. “In India, there are about 80 lakh girls who are adolescent. The survey was conducted in across 600 districts, spanning over 30 states,” said an official.

Chief Executive Officer of Nanhi Kali Foundation, Manoj Kumar said, the main purpose of this survey was to find out how many girls in the rural areas are suffering from anaemia. “Through this survey, we have emphasised the grim situation of the 80 lakhs adolescent girls in India. During the survey, we surveyed 74,000 girls in 600 districts of India. Out of every two girls, one girl is suffering from anaemia.”

Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, said, “Now the time has come when we need to understand the adolescent girls more carefully. We need to talk to them and understand the issues which they are facing on the day to day basis. The survey carried out by Nanhi Kali project has focused on this core area. The survey will be beneficial for Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other organisations working for the girls.”

People suffering from anaemia lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. And fewer healthy red blood cells could mean less oxygen travelling to the brain and may result in cognitive decline. It can be caused by several conditions, including kidney disease and nutritional deficiencies.Dr Amol Annadate, pediatrician, said as the cases of anaemia is on high in this area due to which 80 lakhs girls in their adolescent are suffering this.

“Anaemia has been rising in the adolescent girls and the women as well. However, the main contributory factor is the nutritious food and iron deficiency. Girls and women must include nutritious food in the regular food diet.”

Growing Concern

In India, the number of anaemic girls is rising, the number is high in rural areas. Compared to men, anaemia is more prevalent in women.

One in every two girls is suffering from anaemia and low body mass index.

Due to non-availability of nutrition, haemoglobin is also very low in women.

As much as 50 per cent of the girls don’t have an average Body Mass Index.

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