The New York Times has an interesting piece on the high child malnutrition rates in India.
Here’s an excerpt from the NYT story:
[E]ven after a decade of galloping economic growth, child malnutrition rates are worse here than in many sub-Saharan African countries, and they stand out as a paradox in a proud democracy.
China, that other Asian economic powerhouse, sharply reduced child malnutrition, and now just 7 percent of its children under 5 are underweight, a critical gauge of malnutrition. In India, by contrast, despite robust growth and good government intentions, the comparable number is 42.5 percent. Malnutrition makes children more prone to illness and stunts physical and intellectual growth for a lifetime.
There are no simple explanations. Economists and public health experts say stubborn malnutrition rates point to a central failing in this democracy of the poor. Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, lamented that hunger was not enough of a political priority here. Indiaâ€™s public expenditure on health remains low, and in some places, financing for child nutrition programs remains unspent.
Even though several democracies have all but eradicated hunger, Indiaâ€™s sluggish and sometimes corrupt bureaucracy has only haltingly put in place relatively simple solutions â€” iodizing salt, for instance, or making sure all children are immunized against preventable diseases â€” to say nothing of its progress on the harder tasks, like changing what and how parents feed their children.