The dichotomy between rich and poor is evident in India’s nutrition landscape. With a burgeoning middle class, the number of overweight children is rapidly rising among all age groups: 11 percent of adolescents, and 20 percent of all adults. After the United States and China, India has the third most overweight and obese people and malnutrition is still pervasive. A total of 56 per 1000 children die before their 5th birthday, and 47.9 percent of children under the age of five are stunted. Half of pregnant women are anemic as are 74 percent of children under five. Only 46 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Malnutrition is said to cost the Indian economy approximately $200 billion.
Those are just some of the facts highlighted in the new Malnutrition Mapping Project, an online compilation of data that includes an online map for country-specific information and insights on the global challenge of malnutrition. Developed by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) with support from Amway™, this new tool reveals the global burden of malnutrition in all its forms. It includes data from more than 30 countries representing low, middle and high incomes and provides an easy path to country-by-country statistics and insights on nutritional challenges.
“This double burden of malnutrition is a serious global challenge and one that we can’t meet unless we have strong data. We need to build a clearer picture of where people are and what their nutritional status is in order to effectively target interventions,” said Dominic Schofield, Director and Senior Technical Advisor at GAIN. “The goal of this project is to raise awareness of malnutrition in all its forms so that political, health and business leaders can discuss, develop and ultimately implement solutions.”
The project highlights the global challenge represented by the double burden of undernutrition and overweight and obesity. Although there are decreasing rates of undernutrition in some populations, it remains high in many low- and middle-income countries, threatening the survival and healthy development of children. In India, for example, undernutrition is the leading risk factor for death in children under age 5.¹
At the same time, many of these countries are experiencing high rates of overweight and obesity. In Guatemala, the stunting rate for children ─ a result of undernutrition ─ is 48 percent², while 55 percent of women and 41 percent of men are either overweight or obese.³
“The Malnutrition Mapping Project shows that in many parts of the world, there are basic needs going unmet,” said Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel. “Amway has the expertise to help meet those needs through its Nutrilite™ Little Bits™ product, a micronutrient supplement that helps children get the nutrients they need. Our hope is that this project advances more discussions and solutions that address the issue of malnutrition worldwide.”
Nutrilite™ Little Bits™ is a one-gram micronutrient sachet developed by Amway containing 15 vitamins and minerals for children ages 6 months to 5 years. It’s designed to be mixed with food once a day and provides the vitamins and nutrients needed for children to reach their potential. Through the Nutrilite™ Power of 5 Campaign, Little Bits™ is currently provided to families for free in six countries, with the goal to reach 15 countries by 2017.
This new mapping project is part of Amway’s commitments to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network, which brings members of the private sector together to explore their role in solutions to malnutrition. Amway joined the network in 2014 and is one of over 100 businesses committed to improving global nutrition.