When nine-month-old twins Devki and Rahul were brought by their mother to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre in Kolaras -- located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh -- Rahul was a normal weight and size for his age, yet his sister Devki weighed just over half of what she should have. Devki's condition was the result of severe malnutrition.
Both babies showed such varied weight and health that doctors suspected less food was given to Devki, a common occurrence in some areas of India where boys are often given more attention than girls.
According to a UNICEF report, half of the world's undernourished children live in South Asia. In India, 30 per cent of children are born with low birth weight and almost 50 per cent remain underweight by the age of three.
One of the Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, which would mean halving the proportion of children who are underweight for their age. UNICEF has warned that the world is not on track to meet that goal.
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