Published on: September 8, 2023

National Nutrition Week 2023

National Nutrition Week 2023

Why in news?  National Nutrition Week is an annual event commemorated every year from September 1 to 7


  • The week aims to raise awareness among people about the vital role of nutrition and the significant of the cultivating healthy eating habits

History of National Nutrition Week

  • In 1975, the American Dietetic Association ( Academy of nutrition and dietetics) started national nutrition week meant to create awareness for healthy life
  • In India, national nutrition week was first celebrated in 1982 to encourage, inform, teach people healthy eating and connected to staying healthy

Theme of National Nutrition Week 2023: “Making Healthy Eating Affordable for Everyone.”

What are the reasons for prevalent malnutrition in India?

  • Poverty: Low purchasing power, poor cannot afford to buy desired amount and desired quality of food for the family. This adversely affects their capacity for physical work and they earn less. Thus starts a vicious cycle of poverty, under nutrition, diminished work capacity, low earning and poverty
  • Feeding habits: Lack of awareness of nutritional qualities of food, irrational beliefs about food, inappropriate child rearing and feeding habits all lead to under nutrition in the family.
  • Infections: Infections like malaria and measles or recurrent attacks of diarrhoea may precipitate acute malnutrition and aggravate the existing nutritional deficit.
  • Metabolic demands: Protein are higher during infections and the child may take in less food either due to reduced appetite or due to food restrictions by the mother. Thus leading to malnutrition
  • Inequitable distribution of food: In most of the poor households, women and preschool children especially girls receive less food than the economically active male members
  • Lack of inadequate infrastructure :Poor quality of housing, sanitation and water supply. These contribute to ill health and infections thus Contributing to malnutrition.
  • Inadequate maternal and child care– Improving the primary health centres and other health care services in the rural areas will definitely improve the nutrition profile of women and children.

India’s Present status in malnutrition

  • As per the National Family Health Survey, Malnourishment in children (stunting, wasting and underweight) under 5 years has reduced as per NHFS-5 (2019-21) from 38.4% to 35.5%, 21.0% to 19.3% and 35.8% to 32.1% respectively as compared to NHFS-4 (2015-16).
  • Malnutrition among women aged 15-49 years has also reduced from 22.9% to 18.7%.
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, malnutrition is among the leading causes of death and disability in India.
  • India ranks 107 out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index

How to overcome the malnutrition ?

  • Increased investment in children: There has to be an increased focus on children, focus on women, maternity entitlements, sanitation improvement, mid-day meals, day-care facilities all the same things need to be done properly.
  • Nutrition Security – Going beyond food security: There is a need to go beyond food security by considering the nutritional value of food to improve an individual’s nutritional status. Nutrition security is about people’s access to essential nutrients and not just calories
  • Creation of Infrastructure : Policy reforms to strengthen, diversify and improve the PDS, enable the One Nation, One Ration card scheme universally, improve infrastructure and technology to reduce post-harvesting losses, transport and storage losses, are also critical.
  • Transforming Food Systems: There is a need to make people aware about the need to have locally produced foods as those are richer in nutrients. This can be done through awareness-building campaigns, encouraging farmers to produce more local food by making farming economical for them and by encouraging people to adopt kitchen gardens
  • Income growth: There are systematic correlations between household income and food and nutrition security. She said that there has to be an increase in the per capita income in the country so that people can have the capability to spend on more nutrient-rich food.

Government Programmes to tackle malnutrition

  • Government implemented Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition in the country.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach.
  • Mission Poshan 2.0 seeks to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach and outcomes with focus on developing practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity to disease and malnutrition.
  • Poshan Vatikas at Anganwadi Centres to meet dietary diversity gap leveraging traditional knowledge in nutritional practices has also been taken up. Guidelines were issued for transparency and accountability in delivery of supplementary nutrition and to track nutritional outcomes
  • ‘POSHAN Maah’ or Nutrition Month celebrated every year in September to learn about the challenges that the country is facing in achieving its nutrition-related targets
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2- Zero Hunger aims to end all forms of malnutrition, including stunting and wasting in children under five years of age by 2030 and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons.


  • Addressing the issue of malnutrition cannot be done by undertaking just one or two kinds of efforts. It requires the convergence of various ministries and departments like women and child development, education, social justice, health, environment, agriculture, jal shakti, need to work together