The world is on the brink of a new pandemic, with two million children in India under a severe acute malnutrition condition.
A survey of parents and carers of these children published in the Indian Medical Journal (IMJ) on Thursday shows that almost three quarters of the 1,400 children affected were underweight.
The report found that a third of the children were under three years old.
Of the remaining children, almost two thirds were under five years old, and only two thirds under 10 years old; the rest were under 10 months old.
The authors, from the Department of Child Welfare, Social Services and Child Development at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, said there was a strong link between malnutrition and the emergence of microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with an abnormally small head size.
Microcephalo is rare in India, with cases reported every few years.
The new data is the latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to highlight the devastating impact malnutrition can have on a child’s development.
The WHO is not able to predict the exact number of cases, but has said India has the most severe acute undernutrition in the world.
The World Health Organization has declared India as the world’s most undernourished country, with 1.5 million children underweight and 2.3 million underweight children under five.
The country has also recorded more than 1,000 deaths from acute undernurishment each day.
The report also found that almost half of the families of undernursers in India were under-fed, with half of them not receiving adequate food.
The children who were undernutrition-affected were more likely to be aged between three and five years, and also to have higher rates of underweight, poor physical and mental health, and behavioural disorders, the authors said.
The undernurtured children were also more likely than the healthy children to have health problems including asthma, allergies and poor nutrition.
According to the report, India’s undernurses had to cope with malnutrition on a daily basis for three days a week, with the food ration being insufficient for all households.
The number of under-nursing children increased from 13.5% in 2003 to 30.3% in 2015, the report said.
The prevalence of undernutrition has increased from about 25% in 2004 to more than 30% in 2016.
The authors say that malnutrition has been linked to many health problems in India.
For instance, children with malabsorption syndrome (MS), a condition where their body fails to absorb the necessary nutrients, are more likely at risk of diabetes and obesity, and are also more susceptible to respiratory infections and infections.
This condition is often caused by inadequate intake of vitamin D and is associated with poor dental health, the researchers said.
In the United States, there is a national health plan for undernotherment that aims to eradicate malnutrition by 2030, but there are only about 200,000 children under 5 under the plan.
Despite the dire state of malnutrition, India has achieved a remarkable feat.
The last time India achieved such a feat was in the 1950s, when it managed to eliminate polio from its population.