Nutritional status of preschool children in southern Rajasthan (1999-2000)

A study was conducted in five blocks across 2 districts of southern Rajasthan to estimate the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight among rural preschool children (0-35 months) and to compare the degree of stunting among beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of ICDS supplementary nutrition.

The study found that protein malnutrition was highly prevalent among rural children aged less than three years, as evidenced by high levels of wasting (19.4%), stunting (53.8%), and underweight (53.8%). It appears that a major reason for malnutrition among children under 3 years of age is difficulty in weaning. The finding that babies born at close birth interval of less than 3 years were stunted, underscores that malnutrition may be a consequence of high and uncontrolled fertility in the area. There was no significant difference found in the prevalence of wasting or stunting between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of ICDS programme.

16.8% of children aged 6 to 35 months received supplementary food from the anganwadis, which was only 43.1% of the maximum children that could have been targeted by the programme.