Telling Numbers: The burden of malnutrition in under-5 children, state by state

Malnutrition is still the underlying risk factor for 68% of the deaths in under-five children in India.

A report published Wednesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health gives comprehensive estimates of disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition and the trends of its indicators in every state of India from 1990 to 2017. Key findings include:

The death rate attributable to malnutrition in under-5 children in India has dropped by two-thirds from 1990 to 2017. Malnutrition is, however, still the underlying risk factor for 68% of the deaths in under-five children in India.

The Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) rate attributable to malnutrition in children varies 7-fold among the states a gap between a high of 74,782 in Uttar Pradesh and a low of 11,002 in Kerala. Other states with a high burden are Bihar, Assam and Rajasthan. followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland and Tripura.

The proportion of under-5 deaths attributable to malnutrition, which is 68.2% across India, ranges between a high of 72.7% in Bihar and a low of 50.8% in Kerala. Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh are states with a high such proportion, while Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Goa have the lowest proportions of such deaths.

Among the malnutrition indicators, low birth weight is the largest contributor to child deaths in India, followed by child growth failure which includes stunting, underweight, and wasting.