Bangalore has hundreds of malnourished kids

,TNN | Aug 27, 2013, 06.03 AM IST

BANGALORE: India's IT capital has a dark side – it has 2,122 malnourished children, most of them in slums. The BBMP discovered this in three of its zones where it conducted health camps. Of the underweight children, 1,246, or 59%, are girls. 

The worst-hit children are in the 2-5 age group. The survey, conducted in the East, West and South zones, points to a looming public health problem due to poverty. 

Between July 15, 2012, and August 21 this year, the BBMP screened 2,71,766 children up to 6 years of age. "To begin with, 3,239 children were found to be malnourished. Among them, many children recovered from severe malnourishment after the government gave them food supplements. Over 60% showed speedy recovery," said Dr G Suresh, project coordinator of the BBMP campaign to end malnutrition. 

A senior BBMP officer who conducted the survey said malnutrition was seen even among children whose parents were literate and educated till class X. 

"As per our survey, 704 children had educated mothers and 831 children had educated fathers. We have SSLC pass/fail as the benchmark. This clearly shows that illiteracy among parents is not the only reason for malnourishment. We also found severely undernourished children of educated parents. But, yes, social factors matter a lot," the officer said. 

The BBMP identifies undernourished children and enrols them in anganwadis. A list of such children is sent to the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which supplies food supplements to anganwadis. 

"We've seen positive changes after the children started taking these supplements," said Ramesh Halbhavi, deputy director, ICDS. 

Veena Harish, child development project officer of the women and child welfare department, who manages the supply of food supplements to anganwadis in Koramangala, HAL, Ulsoor, Banasawadi and RT Nagar, told TOI: "We supply eggs four days a week and 20 grams of milk powder to severely undernourished children."