Malnutrition - A Global Concern
According to WHO, 'Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person's intake of energy and/or or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is 'undernutrition'-which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).'  .
Globally around 795 million people are undernourished and of these almost 98% (780 million) people or the vast majority of the hungry, live in the developing regions.  It causes major economic losses as a result of lost productivity and direct health care costs. A common misconception about malnutrition is that it is a problem prevalent only in tribal or rural areas and the poorest are the victims of malnutrition normally. The main reasons for malnutrition is the lack of awareness about what to eat, scarcity or unavailability of nutritious food, and excess consumption of food lacking in nutrients. This means a person who consumes enough or excess food could also suffer from malnutrition if there is insufficient intake of a certain nutrient group, and thus affects all strata of the society.
The Green Revolution in India that started in the early 1960s led to a huge increase in India's food grain production, making India self- sufficient. Production rose from 50 million in 1950 to over 257 million in 2014-15. However this rise in the quantity of food produced has somehow not helped wipe out food insecurity in India, especially in tribal and rural areas. The nutritional problems that Indians, whether rural or urban suffer from, vary depending on the diversity in their socio-economic, socio-cultural and ecological factors, but the deficiency of several essential nutrients is however, a common phenomenon.Several initiatives have been undertaken by the Government of India aimed at eradicating food insecurity. The Right to Food Act or the National Food Security Act 2013 created legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Govt. such as the Mid-day Meal scheme, Integrated Child Development Service and the Public Distribution System.
Moreover, the need of the hour is to create sustainable solutions that combat social and cultural drawbacks impeding nutritional security while creating ways and means to make nutritious food available to all sections of the society. TERI, being a multidisciplinary organization committed to sustainable development, has made a humble effort to help achieve this by designing and implementing a replicable model that includes optimal use of easily available minimal local resources incorporating traditional knowledge while encouraging communities to inculcate the best nutritional practices. The simple and innovative approach implemented in Palghar district of Maharashtra, notorious for the high rate of fatalities due to malnutrition could be easily replicated in several other areas across the country and elsewhere, that have similar problems with respect to nutrition. The hands on approach at the grassroots level helped in mobilizing the rural communities to become active stakeholders and not just mere beneficiaries.