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Food awareness among women: How a community is fighting malnutrition

In a recent meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha, national president Mr Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia spoke about how during a recent interaction with health workers he found out about the extent of malnutrition in the female population. It was expected that females from very poor households will have malnutrition and deficiencies. But it is as prevalent in lower-income and middle-income groups as well. Studies have found that females from the marginalised sections of society are often found to have low BMI and low muscle mass. Even those with higher BMI may not be healthy as hidden hunger due to micronutrient deficiencies is so often missed in overweight people. This leads to health issues over time. This is another facet of malnutrition.

How does it impact families and the community?

Another member of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha discussed the matter further. He said, “We have been trying to connect our community. We are also carrying out different measures to address the problems faced by our community. Women empowerment, women's health, female literacy, etc, are also under the gambit of our work to uplift our community. We try to make health services accessible to as many families as possible. Recent interactions with health workers and doctors have alarmed us about the impact of malnutrition on the long term quality of life of women. What is also very alarming is how this impacts the foetus and the child. This has alerted us to be more proactive in dealing with malnutrition and hidden deficiencies.”

Effects of malnutrition – Another reason why women’s health should not be ignored

Effects of poor nutrition do not end with women as the effects can be seen clearly in the children of malnourished women. It has been noted that the children born to malnourished mothers are extremely prone to several problems like cognitive impairments, poor immunity, short stature and in some cases an elevated risk of disease and death. This is a serious concern and that is why it needs to be addressed for the women.

There are several reasons why this is caused. One of the most common things that happen in village communities where women face inequality is the unfair sharing of food. Women are often conditioned to eat when all the other members of the family have eaten. Due to this, they get the smallest share of left-over food. This negatively affects their health in the long term.

“When you think of a village woman or a woman from a marginalized community, do you picture a strong and healthy woman? No, right? You would picture a raw-boned person. This is how long this has been happening. It has been the case for decades now. There is so much ignorance about the effects of malnutrition that we don’t even consider it a thing. Lethargy, reduced focus, depression, mood disorders, and loss of appetite are all the results of deficiencies caused by improper nutrition which are easily ignored. This is what we want to change without health awareness programmes. We want women to know that without proper nutrition, they will not be able to do what they want in their lives too.” – A health worker and senior member of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahila Mahasabha spoke about the matter.

Benefits of nutrition awareness among women

Healthy women can live more fulfilled lives where they can do what they wish to without physical barriers coming in their way. A healthy woman can also sustain a job and earn while ensuring the good health of her family. If women are given the right guidance about nutrition and how to get the best out of their food resources, they will be able to get more control over the nutrition aspect of their family. This in turn, also results in the improved health of their children who are the future of our society. It all boils down to women’s health if you look at it carefully. If women are aware of this important aspect, they will certainly take charge and bring a health revolution to their community. This is the goal of the Mahasabha when health and food awareness camps are organized.

The president of the Mahasabha, Mr Ramesh Chaurasia has always been concerned about the well being of women and children of the community because he believes that it is they who are the backbone of our society.

It is the aim of the organization to normalize healthy living and to show a better way to those who matter the most.

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