Prelims cum Mains

1 in 5 Indian children ‘wasted’, says GHI

The News

  • According to the Global Hunger Index 2018, at least one in five Indian children under the age of five are ‘wasted’.
  • This means that they have extremely low weight for their height, reflecting acute under-nutrition.


Global Hunger Index 2018

  • The GHI 2018 was a joint project of Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, with IFPRI stepping aside from its involvement in the report.
  • The 2018 scores reflect data from 2013-2017.


  • India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Index, with hunger levels in the country categorised as “serious”. Overall, India’s ranking has dropped three places from last year.
  • India has shown improvement in three of the indicators over the comparable reference years.
  • The percentage of undernourished people in the population has dropped from 18.2% in 2000 to 14.8% in 2018
  • The child mortality rate has halved from 9.2% to 4.3%
  • The child stunting has dropped from 54.2% to 38.4% over the same period
  • The only country with a higher prevalence of child wasting is the war-torn nation of South Sudan (28%).
  • Child wasting is high across South Asia, constituting a “critical public health emergency”.
  • Child wasting in the region is associated with a low maternal body mass index, suggesting the need for a focus on the nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy.


About Global Hunger Index (GHI)

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
  • GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger.
  • Created in 2006, the GHI was initially published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Welthungerhilfe. In 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide also became a co-publisher.


Calculation of GHI scores

  • GHI scores are calculated using a three-step process that draws on data from various sources to capture the multidimensional nature of hunger.

First Step:

For each country, values are determined for four indicators:

  1. Undernourishment:the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
  2. Child Wasting:the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
  3. Child Stunting:the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
  4. Child Mortality:the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Second Step:

  • Each of the four component indicators is given a standardized score on a 100-point scale based on the highest observed level for the indicator on a global scale in recent decades.

Third Step:

  • Standardized scores are aggregated to calculate the GHI score for each country, with each of the three dimensions- inadequate food supply; child mortality; and child undernutrition, which is composed equally of child stunting and child wasting, given equal weight.


This three-step process results in GHI scores on a 100-point GHI Severity Scale, where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

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