(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Adequate Nutrition for Women and Children

(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Adequate Nutrition for Women and Children


Adequate Nutrition for Women and Children


  • Adequate nutrition is essential for women and children due to its direct impact on health, development, and overall well-being. The article emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition for women and children, the consequences of inadequate nutrition, the existing challenges, and the initiatives taken to address this issue.

Importance of Women’s Nutrition:

  • Malnutrition leads to diseases, lower life expectancy, and maternal complications.
  • Maternal health impacts childbearing, child-rearing, and overall family welfare.
  • Inadequate nutrition in pregnancy leads to low birth weight, stillbirths, and maternal mortality.
  • Undernourished women become undernourished mothers, perpetuating intergenerational malnutrition.
  • Anaemia is prevalent among pregnant women, leading to higher maternal mortality.
  • Poor health reduces productivity, earning capacity, and the ability to care for families.

Challenges in Solving Women’s Nutrition Problem::

  • Awareness Gap: Lack of awareness about the importance of women’s nutrition and its impact on maternal and child health.
  • Underweight or Obesity: Many Indian women are either underweight or obese, posing risks during pregnancy.
  • Gender Bias: Intra-household food distribution often favours men, neglecting women’s nutritional needs.
  • Access to Services: Unequal access to basic nutrition, health services, and education facilities, especially in rural areas.
  • Nutrition Education: Inadequate dissemination of nutrition education across all age groups, genders, and social classes.
  • Implementation Hurdles: Effective implementation of nutrition programs at the grassroots level faces obstacles.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Difficulty in monitoring and evaluating the impact of nutrition interventions.

Initiatives for Solving Women’s Nutrition Problem:

  • Poshan Abhiyan: This flagship program by the Ministry of Women and Child Development aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers through various interventions.
  • Maternal Health and Nutrition Programs: Initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) provide cash incentives and cost-free antenatal care services to pregnant women.
  • Prime Minister-Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM-POSHAN): Formerly known as the Mid-day Meal Scheme, it provides nutritional support to primary education students.
  • Poshan Tracker: A governance tool by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for transparently tracking nutrition service delivery and identifying malnutrition in children.
  • NITI Aayog’s “Nourishing India”: This document focuses on preventing undernutrition, particularly in the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS): Aim to improve the nutritional status of children below six years of age.
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG): Provides nutritional support, health check-ups, and education for adolescent girls aged 14-18 years.

Way Forward:

  • Impart comprehensive nutrition education to individuals regardless of age, gender, education, social class, or creed.
  • Adopt a holistic approach focusing on the needs of girls and women throughout their life cycle, especially during pregnancy and lactation. 
  • Integrate weight monitoring, nutrition counselling, anaemia prevention/treatment, and mental health screening into routine antenatal check-ups.
  • Empower women to prioritize their own nutritional needs, breaking the cycle of malnutrition.
  • Focus on macro- and micronutrient intake during early childhood. 


Addressing the nutritional needs of women and children through well-implemented programs is essential to break the cycle of malnutrition, ensuring healthier generations, and contributing to national development.



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Courtesy: Kurukshetra