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Indian Pediatr. 2004 Jul;41(7):682-96.

Nutritional problems in urban slum children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden, Delhi 110 095, India.


Nutritional problems like protein energy malnutrition (PEM), anemia and vitamin A deficiency continue to plague a large proportion of Indian children. The diets and nutritional status of urban slum children in India is far away from being satisfactory. The nutritional status of slum children is worst amongst all urban groups and is even poorer than the rural average. Urban migration has not provided them salvation from poverty and undernutrition. Another distressing feature is the lack of any significant improvement over the years in this population. Most common causes of malnutrition include faulty infant feeding practices, impaired utilization of nutrients due to infections and parasites, inadequate food and health security, poor environmental conditions and lack of proper child care practices. High prevalence of malnutrition among young children is also due to lack of awareness and knowledge regarding their food requirements and absence of a responsible adult care giver. With increasing urban migration in the years ahead, the problem of malnutrition in urban slums will also acquire increasing dimension unless special efforts are initiated to mitigate the health and nutrition problems of the urban poor. Improving nutritional status of urban poor requires a more direct, more focused, and more integrated strategy.

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