"Only three other countries in this year's GHI - Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan - have data or estimates showing child wasting above 20 percent in the latest period (2012-16)".
Though there has been a substantial decrease in the rating from 2008's 35.6 to a 31.4 in the current year, there's hardly anything to cheer for a country that is pegged as world's fastest growing economy for it shares the rating with African nations like Djibouti and Uganda.
Worked out by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), what should be of particular concern for the country's policy makers is, it ranks worse among its competing countries. Now in its 12th year, the GHI ranks countries based on four indicators - undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting. In India, it has increased in India from 17.1% in 1998-02 to 21% in 2012-16.
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"With a GHI score that is near the high end of the serious category, it is obvious that a high GDP growth rate alone is no guarantee of food and nutrition security for India's vast majority", said Nivedita Varshneya, India director of Welthungerhilfe, a non-profit which co-authored the GHI report with IFPRI.
IFPRI pointed out that more than one-fifth of Indian children under five weigh too little for their height and over a third are too short for their age.
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The release of the under-5 wasting trends comes days after the publication of a study, in The Lancet, which has found a high count of underweight children in age group 5-19 in India.
Of India's neighbours in South Asia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are doing better than India, while Pakistan and Afghanistan are doing worse. The report notes that the child stunting rate, while relatively high at 38.4%, has gone down over the year, from 61.9% in 1992.
Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, said that child wasting reflects acute under-nutrition caused by prolonged period of poor diet, repeated illnesses, and poor sanitation.
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The report says, "India has implemented a "massive scale-up" of two national programmes that address nutrition - the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission - but these have yet to achieve adequate coverage".