Mothers, families and communities are often not aware that their young infant is slipping into malnutrition—or that their growth has started to falter. The problem is often recognised only after the child has become visibly undernourished, listless, does not feed well or becomes more prone to infections. Regular growth monitoring is a powerful communication tool that makes under nutrition visible to outreach workers, mothers and families—enabling counseling and early preventive action, improved care and feeding, so that the child does not slip into malnutrition.
Moreover, birth weight is an important indicator for child survival as children with low birth weight (LBW) are more likely to have impaired growth, higher mortality and are at higher risk of chronic adult diseases. LBW is also a strong predictor for size in later life as most of these babies have intrauterine growth retardation, and they seldom catch-up with normal size during childhood. Therefore, growth monitoring and promotion is a key intervention for preventing infant mortality and malnutrition.
Community organizers identify and track all children aged 0-2 years and monitor their growth, as well as facilitate line listing of those with faltering growth patterns. Through the program, Anganwadi workers are trained to take accurate anthropometric measurements, as well as diligently record these details and share them with family members.