Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition - Feeding practices including micronutrient deficiencies prevention, control of wasting, stunting and underweight
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Home  »  India  »  Resources  »  Nutrition & Malnutrition Resources for India

Nutrition & Malnutrition Resources for India

Food and Nutrition Board - Ministry of Women and Child Development - India

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition


The Food & Nutrition Board (FNB), set up in 1964, is an attached office of the Ministry of Women & Child Development and has a countrywide set up. Originally with Ministry of Food, the FNB was shifted to Ministry of Women and Child Development (then Department of WCD) in 1993.

Nutrition is the focal point of health and well-being. Nutrition is directly linked to human resource development, productivity and ultimately to the national growth.

Malnutrition is a complex phenomenon. It is both the cause and effect of poverty and ill health, and follows a cyclical, inter-generational pattern. It is inextricably linked with illiteracy, especially female illiteracy, lack of safe drinking water and proper sanitation, ignorance, lack of awareness and ill health. It creates its own cycle within the large cycle of poverty.

Malnutrition in India continues to be at a high level with 42.5% children below the age being underweight and almost 70% being anaemic. 22% children are born with low birth weight. Lack of adequate information on nutritional needs, has been identified as a major factor for the prevailing nutritional situation in the country. Child malnutrition is both the result of economic conditions and poor nutritional awareness. Nutrition education and extension has been recognized as one of the long-term sustainable interventions essential to tackle the problem of malnutrition and to generate awareness and to promote the nutrition status of the country. FNB's major task is to address this major challenge.

Food and Nutrition Board comprises a technical wing at the Centre, 4 Regional Offices and Quality Control Laboratories at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and 43 Community Food & Nutrition Extension Units (CFNEUs) located in 29 States / UTs (Annexure-I). However, there is no CFNEU in the States Uttarakhand, Tripura, Nagaland, Trivendram and UTs of Lakshadweep and Daman and Diu.

Activities of Food & Nutrition Board  include:

  • Nutrition Education and Training, both for the masses and for ICDS functionaries,

  • Mass Nutrition Awareness Campaigns,

  • Development, production and distribution of nutrition education/training material,

  • Training in Home Scale Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables and Nutrition,

  • Development and Promotion of locally available Nutritious Foods,

  • Food Analysis and Standardization,

  • Follow up action on National Nutrition Policy.

Nutrition Education and Training

Nutrition Education and Training

  1. Advocacy and sensitization of policy makers, nutrition orientation of programme managers and capacity building of field functionaries is one of the important activities of the Food & Nutrition Board. Different activities are carried out for different target groups for disseminating nutrition related information.

  2. Each CFNEU organizes five days "Training of Trainers (TOT)"  programme for Master Trainers comprising of Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs), Assistant Child Development Project Officers (ACDPOs), Medical Officers, Local Health Visitors, Senior Supervisors of ICDS etc. who, in turn, act as trainers for the grass-root level functionaries of ICDS, such as Anganwadi workers and the community. Each CFNEU organizes one TOT course for 20 master trainers in each quarter of the year.

  3. The technical staff of each CFNEU organizes three Orientation Training Courses (OTC) of two days duration in each quarter of the year. 30 participants comprising grass-root level functionaries from ICDS, Health and NGOs are trained in the field of nutrition during the course.

  4. The CFNEUs organize one-week training courses in Home Scale Preservation of Fruits & Vegetables and Nutrition for the housewives and adolescent girls to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables which are rich sources of fibre and anti-oxidants. During the training course, methods for preparation of instant weaning/ supplementary foods for infants and young children from roasted cereals, pulses and oilseeds are also taught. Each CFNEU organizes one/two training course per month and trains 30 participants in each batch. A Ready Reckoner on essentials of preservation and nutrition is distributed to the trainees on completion of the training.

  5. Under the Accelerated Programme for Development of SC/ST Community all the CFNEUs are also organizing one week special training courses in Home Scale Preservation of Fruits & Vegetables and Nutrition exclusively for SC/ST adolescent girls and women. A stipend of Rs.100/- is given to each candidate so as to enable her to meet the expenditure on the raw material required for the training purpose.

  6. Nutrition Education Programmes are undertaken in Rural and Tribal Areas and Urban Slums to encourage appropriate dietary intake and healthy life styles.

  7. Monitoring of SNP and Nutrition Education & Awareness for ICDS Functionaries - Anganwadis under different projects are visited to monitor the "supplementary nutrition" and "nutrition and health education" components of the ICDS.  The technical staff of CFNEUs, during the visit provides technical support to the functionaries of the AWCs.  The observations are communicated to the respective State Secretaries in-charge of WCD at the headquarter level also.

Mass Media Communication

Development of educational and training material on nutrition has been one of the important activities of FNB Headquarters.  Some of the important publications include Handbook on Integrated Nutrition Education, Guidelines for Management of Grade I and II Malnutrition, Wall Hanger on Nutrition of Pregnant Women, Posters on Child's Health, Girl Child, Nursing Mothers, Complementary Feeding, Instant Food Mixes, Iodised Salt, folders on mother's milk, green leafy vegetables, fruits and vegetables for vitality, stickers for school children, National Plan of Action on Nutrition, Task Force Report on Micronutrients, India Nutrition Profile 1998 giving disaggregated picture of malnutrition upto district level from 18 States/UTs.  The printed publicity material is produced in Hindi, English and 16 regional languages and distributed widely through DAVP.

Mass Awareness Campaigns

Nationwide celebration of events like World Breast Feeding Week (1-7 August) National Nutrition Week (1-7 September), World Food Day (16th October), Global Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) Prevention Day (21st October), Universal Children's Day (14th November), International Women's Day (8th March) etc. are organized on specific themes, with the active cooperation of respective State Governments, educational institutions, NGOs and media. Workshops, special nutrition education programmes, telecast / broadcast of video and audio spots on nutrition, coverage of events through All India Radio, Doordarshan and Press were some of the events conducted during the celebration period.

Apart from the above, dissemination of nutrition information to the masses is also undertaken by organizing exhibitions on nutrition in the prestigious melas / fairs.

Advertisement Campaign

A systematic media campaign has been launched by publishing the advertisements with nutrition messages in popular national dailies in Hindi, English, Urdu and regional languages.

Infant and Young Child Nutrition

Infant and Young Child Nutrition which is of utmost importance in the lives of human beings has been focused through intensified information, education and communication and protecting the norms for breastfeeding and complementary feeding at international fora namely Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, Codex Alimentarius Commission and World Health Assembly.

A land mark decision to protect, promote and support breastfeeding was taken in 54th World Health Assembly in 2001 giving rise to a Global Public Health recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for first six months of life, complementary feeding with home based safe and nutritious foods to start at six months of age and continued breastfeeding upto the age two years and beyond.  This Global Public Health recommendation has honoured India's traditional wisdom of breastfeeding for first six months and complementary feeding starting thereafter through a ceremony called annaprashan and continuing breastfeeding for more than two years.

The 55th World Health Assembly adopted a Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Nutrition recognizing the importance of nutrition of women through out their life cycle for ensuring optimum nutrition of the child.  The inter-generational cycle of malnutrition perpetuated by the poor nutritional status of the girl child was also recognised. The Food and Nutrition Board had developed National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding.  The Guidelines in Hindi and English have been distributed to various concerned partners like Health and Family Welfare, Medical and Home Science Colleges, Training Institutions for Nutrition and Health, State Departments of WCD and Health, and field infrastructure of FNB and ICDS. The 2nd edition of National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding was released on 17th May, 2006.

The Chief secretaries and State Secretaries in charge of Women & Child Development were requested to draw up action plans and mobilize the State Machinery for implementation of the Guidelines.  The Guidelines are being translated into Regional languages to reach the same to remote corners of the country.

Follow Up Action on National Nutrition Policy

Intersectoral Coordination with key partners was intensified with –

  • Health and Family Welfare for reimposing ban on sale of non-iodised salt.

  • Food and Public Distribution for including iodised salt under TPDS, fortifying wheat flour with iron and folic acid and distribution through PDS.

  • Elementary Education and Literacy for provision of a Nutritionist at the district level for Mid Day Meal programme, use of iodized salt only in the Mid Day Meal Programme.

  • ICMR, MHFW for expediting action on double fortified salt.

Expert Consultations on important issues like IYCF, Micronutrient malnutrition, nutrition monitoring and surveillance, vitamin etc organised and the decisions communicated to State Secretaries (WCD) for implementation.

Nutrition Advocacy of policy makers:

  • Through D.O. letters to Chief Secretaries and State     Secretaries (WCD).

  • Organising Regional Consultation Meets on Nutrition.  Five such Meets have been organised for North-Eastern (Shillong), Western (Pune), Eastern (Bhubaneswar), Northern (Chandigarh) and Central (Bhopal) Regions with active involvement of senior policy makers from WCD, Health, Food, Education and Panchayati Raj and, professional bodies, Home Science and Medical Colleges, NGOs and international organisations. 

Food and Analysis Standardisation

FNB has four Quality Control Laboratories at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai for chemical analysis of processed fruit, and vegetable products as well as various supplementary foods used in feeding programmes. The samples of the supplementary foods used in ICDS and Mid-Day Meal Programme are received from the State Departments of Social Welfare and Women & Child Development for analysis.

FNB renders technical expertise for food standardisation through various Committees like Codex, Bureau of Indian Standards, Food and Development Panel of Ministry of Defence.

Audio video software developed by FNB:

  • A set of 27 short films on Nutrition titled "Poshan aur Rashtra Nirman" have been developed and produced in the North East Regional languages, Bengali, Hindi and English. These films have been converted into a set of 7 CDs and have been provided to all State Secretaries incharge of WCD, H&FW, Education, Training Institutions, NIPCCD and its regional centres, MLTC etc. for field publicity.

  • A 30 episode Radio programme on "Poshan aur Swasthya" in 20 languages

  • Nine audio jingles on infant, young child and adolescent nutrition in regional languages.

  • Eight video spots on nutrition.

  • Films on Poshan Bagiya infant feeding etc.

  • 3 video spots on Infant and Young Child Feeding telecast during January-February 2006 on DD1 at prime time.

  • Three video and audio spots on deficiencies of Vitamin A, Iodine and Iron in the country have been produced in Hindi, English and 12 regional languages

  • 24 Audio spots on 'Paushan aur Swasthaya'

 Activities During the Year 2008-09

A total of 160 "Training of Trainers (TOT)" courses were organized benefiting 3200 master trainers.

A total number of 490 "Orientation Training Courses (OTC)" five days training courses have been organized and 14700 grassroot level functionaries have been oriented.

A total number of 512 training courses in Home Scale Preservation of Fruits & Vegetables and Nutrition were organized benefiting 15,360 beneficiaries comprising of adolescent girls, housewives, students. From these 120 training courses were for SC/ST girls benefiting 3600 beneficiaries.

A total number of 4520 Nutrition Education Programmes in Rural and Tribal Areas and Urban Slums were organized to encourage appropriate dietary intake and healthy life styles.

A total number of 4400 anganwadis were inspected

Advertisement Campaign

  • Half page colour Advertisement on World Breastfeeding Week

  • Half page colour Advertisement on National Nutrtion Week.

  • Two half page colour Advertisement on Nutrtion

  • Production and Broadcast of 24 episodes on nutrition through All India Radio and FM Channels.

  • A seven page wall calendar for the Calendar year 2009 on the theme "Good Nutrition: Education for Healthy Life Style", carrying nutrition Messages, particularly for infants, children, adolescents girls.


  • Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) participated in the Food Technology Expo 2008 organized on 3rd-5th May, 2008 at New Delhi.  A Nutrition Exhibition displaying the Nutrition Scenario in the Country, Nutritious diets for different age groups with live demonstrations, helped in creating Nutrition Awareness among the visitors and VIPs who visited the Expo.  Handouts and the Nutrition Calendars were distributed to the visitors.

  • A historic exhibition on Nutrition was organized on the theme Invest in Child Nutrition in the lawns of India Gate from 5-7 September, 2008 at New Delhi.  The exhibition was inaugurated by Hon'ble Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Somnath Chatterjee, in the presence of Hon'ble Minister of State for Women & Child Development (Independent Charge) Smt. Renuka Chowdhury.  The exhibition depicted the present levels of malnutrition in the country, nutritious diets for different age groups, especially for children, adolescent girls, pregnant and nursing mothers. Handouts on Nutrition were distributed during the exhibition.

    The Song and Drama division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting made the exhibition lively and attractive for the masses wherein folk dances, role plays, magic shows, regional songs carrying nutrition messages were performed by the Cultural Troupes.

    Nutrition quiz and games were played by the visitors and the      enthusiasm among the people made the exhibition a success.

  • Two exhibition stalls in Agriculture Today--Leadership Summit 2008 organized on 19-20 September, 2008 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi were put up. The stalls were visited by the eminent scientists, parliamentarians/Union Ministers and other distinguished members.
  • An impressive and informative exhibition at the IITF-2008 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, w.e.f. 14-27 November, 2008 was put up.

  • 10 CFNEUs organized 82 mini-exhibitions in the respective States.  26 video shows and 19 slide shows on different aspects of nutrition education were exposed for the general public in rural/urban areas.

Development, production and distribution of nutrition education / training material

The IYCF Guidelines and Ready Reckoner on Fruit & Vegetable Preservation & Nutrition in regional languages were reprinted and distributed.


Education/Training Material developed by Food & Nutrition Board

Hand Book and Special Reports

Infant and young child feeding


  • Report of the Task Force on Micronutrients (Vitamin A and Iron
  • Towards Better Nutrition for Women & Children - Problems and Programmes
  • National Plan of Action on Nutrition
  • National Nutrition Policy
  • Report of the Conference on Update on Micronutrient (September, 1993)
  • Integrated Nutrition Education - A Handbook
  • Food Based Dietary Guidelines
  • National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding
  • Ready Reckoner on Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables and Nutrition


  • You and Your Diet
  • Infant Feeding
  • Feeding Children Below Two Years - Guide
  • Feeding Children During Illness - Guide


  • Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units (CFNEUs)
  • Mother's Milk –The Best Gift by Nature to Infants
  • Consume Green Leafy Vegetables daily and improve your vitality
  • Consume Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for Vitality
  • Feeding Infants and Young Children

Posters / Stickers / Chart

Posters / Stickers / Chart

  • Vitamin A
  • Prevent anaemia
  • Nursing Mothers Need to Eat More
  • Pregnant Women Need Extra Food and Care
  • Infants Need Adequate Food For Growth and Development
  • Book Stickers for School Children with Nutrition Message
  • Guidelines on Infant Feeding


  • Vitamin-A, anaemia and Iodine
  • Infant and Young Child Feeding - (3-Spots)
  • "Feeding Infant", 23 minutes, English Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Khasi.
  • "Conservation of Nutrients" 23 minutes, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Khasi.
  • "Preventing Anaemia Through Nutrition", 17 minutes, Hindi English, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi.
  • "Dietary Fats and Its Consumption", 15 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Nutrition for Young Children", 5 minutes, Hindi, English and other regional languages.
  • "Use Whole Wheat Flour", 1 minute, Hindi, English and other regional languages.
  • "Safe Drinking Water", 1 minute, Hindi, English and other regional languges.
  • "Consume Green Leafy Vegetables", 1 minute, Hindi, English and other regional languages.
  • "Retention of Cooked Rice Water", 1 minutes, Hindi, English and other regional languages.
  • "Vitamin-A", 1.5 minutes, Hindi and English.
  • "Prevent Anaemia", 1.5 minutes, Hindi and English.
  • "Boond Boond Se (MSY)", 10 minutes Hindi.
  • "Food Hygiene", 1 minute, Hindi, English and other regional languages.
  • Five spots on Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY), 1 minute duration each in different languages.
  • "Sunehari Subah (MSY)" 10 minutes duration, Hindi.
  • "Naye Kschitij(MSY)", 16 minutes, Hindi
  • "Anokha Mehman (ORS and Infant Care)", 26 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Maa Ka Kehna Maan-1 (Personal Hygiene)", 8 minutes, Hindi
  • "Phulwa (Girl Child)" 25 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Khushiyon Ka Aangan" 24 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Instant Infant Food" 10 minutes, English.
  • "Nutrition Garden", 15 minutes.
  • "Improving Iron Intake"
  • "Value of Colostrum"
  • "Kissa-E-Kachrapur" (on clealiness), 13 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Anaemia", 8 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Maa Aur BachecheSukh Ke Aadhar, Santulit Aahaar", 25 minutes, Hindi.
  • "Infancy and pre-School Nutrition", 13 minutes, Hindi.
  • 10 spots on "Child Malnutrition"

Recommendations of the Task Force

Strategies for alleviating micronutrient malnutrition in different age groups

  1. Vitamin "A" Deficiency

The comprehensive strategies include

  1. Nutrition education for dietary diversification.
  2. Horticulture interventions including home gardening.
  3. Nutrition supplementation.
  4. Provision of safe drinking water and sanitation to prevent infections.
  5. Selective fortification of foods for risk areas and special groups.

  1. Iron Deficiency Anaemia

The project for tackling the problem of iron deficiency requires to focus on supplementation in the first instances followed by fortification and dietary improvements. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Iron and Folic Acid (IFA supplementation).
  2. Fortification of foods with iron.
  3. Dietary improvements.

India Nutrition Profile

District Nutrition Profile studies were conducted during 1995-96 in 18 States/UTs
and the results were compiled into India Nutrition Profile during 1998.

States covered in the Study
Region State
Northern Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi
Eastern Bihar, Sikkim, Orissa*
North Eastern Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura
Western Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat*, Maharasthra*
Southern Andhra Pradesh*, Tamil Nadu*, Karnataka*, Kerala*
Central Madhya Pradesh*
* States covered under NNMB survey covered only rural areas in these States.

Consumption Pattern based on study of 18 States/UTs

  • Consumption of cereals, roots and tubers was found adequate in most of the States.
  • The total dietary calorie intake was deficient in majority of the States due to inadequate consumption of other energy rich food
  • Intake of green leafy vegetables was found inadequate in majority of the States.
  • The consumption of milk and milk products per consumption unit was inadequate in almost all the districts of India excepting those belonging to North Region and Gujarat.
  • Intake of fats and oils found inadequate in most districts of India.
  • Dietary intake of protein was marginal higher in almost all the districts of the State.
  • Iron intake was around 70% of the recommended level.
  • A close co-relation was observed by and large between adequacy/food consumption pattern and the income level of consumers.
  • Average nutrients intake revealed an adequacy of Protein, Calcium, Thiamin, Niacin and Vitamin C in almost all the districts surveyed while Vitamin "A" and Riboflavin and Iron Intake was inadequate in most districts.

Nutritional Status of Children


Weight for age (1-5 years old)






Severe 12%

According to IAP classification

Normal 45%
Mild 23%
Moderate 16%
Severe 16%

Standard deviation

Under weight 49%
Stunted 56%
Wasted 20%

Nutritional status of Adults

Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED) as estimated by the Body Mass Index (BMI) (wt(kg)/ht(mt)2
Body Mass index is the ratio of weight in kg./height (m), used as an indicator of nutritional status of adults in terms of Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED).

Prevalence of CED was high in all the states but was alarmingly high in Bihar and Rajasthan with 50% and 45% respectively.

Prevalence of CED in adults according to BMI classification (%)
BMI Classification Nutritional Status Males Females
Less than 16 III degree CED 6.0 9.9
16 - 17 II degree CED 6.5 8.1
17 - 18.5 ist degree CEd 16.1 18.2
Total   28.6 36.2
Greater than 18.5 Normal 67.1 59.0

Diet related chronic diseases are also on the increase in all the States especially in the urban population.

14 September, 2019

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