A report recently released by the International Development Charity, WaterAid, states that India has the largest number of stunted children in the world. According to the report titled 'Caught Short–How lack of toilets and clean water contribute to malnutrition', 48 million Indian children under the age of five suffer from stunted growth due to severe sanitation crisis.
The report ranks Nigeria and Pakistan in the second and third position respectively, with 10.3 and 9.8 million stunted children.
"Water, sanitation and hygiene are important determinants of nutrition. With open defecation rampant in India, frequent diarrhoea hinders the ability of children to absorb nutrients," Arundati Muralidharan, WaterAid India's Policy Manager, pointed out. It is also observed from the report that every year in India, over 1,40,000 children under the age of five die out of diarrhoeal diseases owing to lack of safe water and basic sanitation facilities.