India still has 195.9 million undernourished people in 2018

Food and Nutrition

Zero Hunger | Building a Healthy India

Our Goal is to ensure that all women and children have the nutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives.

Each year, millions of children die and many more suffer from physical and mental impairments due to poor nutrition during a critical 1,000-day period: from the onset of their mother’s pregnancy to their second birthday. Many children who live in poverty simply don’t get enough food—or the right kind of food—to support normal growth and development. Millions also suffer from illnesses such as diarrhea that sap the nutrients they consume. 

Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45 percent of child deaths under age 5. Among undernourished children who survive, more than one quarter suffer from stunted growth, which can impair neurological development and learning.

Nutrition has been a neglected area of global health and development, accounting for less than 1 percent of global foreign aid. This is largely due to its underlying and often hidden role in child illnesses and deaths.

The Opportunity

Over the past decade, world researchers have learnt that hat it is critical to reach children within the 1,000-day period and reach mothers and adolescent girls before, during, and after pregnancy.

A number of nutrition interventions have been shown to significantly improve child health and survival. They include exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life, fortifying staple foods such as cereal flours and cooking oil and iodizing salt, breeding crops for improved nutritional content, and providing micronutrient supplements (such as vitamin A and zinc) to children and providing iron and folic acid to mothers before and during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Our Strategy

We invest in proven approaches to improving nutrition, such as focusing on the 1,000-day window, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and food fortification and supplementation. We also explore new approaches, such as improving nutrition for women and adolescent girls, increasing advocacy and technical assistance, improving data systems, and strengthening food systems. 

38.4% of the children aged under five are stunted, while 21% suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height.