‘Vanity to blame for malnutrition’, says Indian minister

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September 1, 2012

Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, claims that malnutrition is a problem among beauty-conscious middle-class women. Over 50 percent of women between 15 and 49 were found to be anemic in the state of Gujarat.

Vanity to blame for malnutrition', says Indian minister

September 1, 2012

Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, claims that malnutrition is a problem among beauty-conscious middle-class women. Over 50 percent of women between 15 and 49 were found to be anemic in the state of Gujarat.

Vanity to blame for malnutrition', says Indian minister

Vanity and not poverty is to blame for high rates of malnutrition among women in one of India's most developed states, its chief minister has said.

Narendra Modi, chief minister of India's Gujarat, said in an interview that malnutrition in his state was mainly a problem among middle-class women.

"Gujarat is a middle-class state. The middle-class is more beauty-conscious than health-conscious," he said.

"A lot needs to be explained to the people to have good nutritional habits and we are doing it," he added.

A National Family Health survey found that more than half of women (55 percent) in the state between 15 and 49 were anemic while for pregnant women the figure was 61 percent. Only 22 percent of men, however, suffered from anemia which campaigners say is because in poor households where food is scarce women serve their husbands and sons first and eat only the leftovers.

Child nutrition in the state, which is admired among India's business leaders as India's most dynamic, has also been highlighted as a concern.

Just under half were found to be underweight and stunted while one in six were described as 'wasted.' Malnutrition accounts for more than half the world's child deaths.

A more recent survey said the state's poorest 10 percent consumed 25 percent fewer calories than India's average daily intake.

The comments have provoked anger among opponents and women's rights campaigners.

Congress leader and India's information minister Ambika Soni said Mr Modi's comments were "childish".

"He is not even sensitive towards women who support their families by sacrificing their food for the sake of their families. Now he is saying women are not eating because they are health conscious. Women in Gujarat should avenge such a statement," she said.


Courtesy: Daily Telegraph

 

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