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UNICEF in India

Contrasts and challenges

Commitments and responsibilities



History of UNICEF in India


Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Coverage of Vitamin A Supplementation

Child malnutrition rates are extraordinarily high and progress has been moderate. Achieving the MDG on hunger will require interventions of great magnitude in disadvantaged states.

  • 47% of young children in India are malnourished, and up to a third of the world's undernourished children are Indian. There are large variations in incidence of malnutrition as shown in the map below.
  • Girls are more affected than boys. About one-third of adult women are underweight. 
  • Under-nutrition begins early. Up to 25% of infants are born with low birth weight, predisposing them to under-nutrition and increased vulnerability to disease throughout life. 


Prevalence of underweight (moderate and severe) Percent of children who fall below -2 standard deviation height-for-age levels from the international reference population median

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also extremely common in India. Some 74% of children below three years of age and 52% of adult women are anaemic. Anaemia is also common amongst adolescent girls, affecting between 70-80%.
  • Only about half of the salt consumed is adequately iodized, though there has been progress in certain states (see Child Development and Nutrition Programme).
  • Vitamin A supplementation coverage has risen from 17% in 1998-99 to 51 % in 2004-05.




For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection