The pandemic has brought along with it the increase in poverty, especially in the slums where most families are either living on one meal a day or going to bed on hungry stomachs. Amongst them, it has been the women who are facing the highest adverse effects and becoming severely underweight in Asha slums.
COVID-19 is having serious consequences on the nutrition of women in our slum communities, causing them to become severely malnourished in many cases. This is a direct consequence of simply not having a sufficient daily caloric consumption coupled with women always eating last after feeding the entire family. Many are eating one meal a day.
As you know, a BMI of less than 16 indicates Severe Thinness and is known to be associated with a markedly increased risk for ill health, poor physical performance, lethargy, and even death. This cut off point is an extreme limit. It is the result of substantial loss of fat and muscle tissue, the body using these constituents for energy to support the nervous system and the heart. Severe thinness is accompanied by significant protein and vitamin deficiencies and frequently accompanied by constant appetite loss.
I have begun a Malnutrition Clinic for Women in the age group 15-49 years. The focus at this time is on Severe Thinness. We are finding women with BMI’s as low as 12 and 13. ( eg 25-year-old woman whose height is 155cm and weight is 32kg has a BMI of 13.3)Here are some pictures below of such women. We have begun creating their health profiles, giving them Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, and an Asha High-Calorie High Protein powder as a nutritional supplement.”
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