South Asia has the highest regional 2012 GHI score, 22.5, thus the highest hunger levels of the regions covered in the Index. Yet compared with the region’s 1990 GHI score, its 2012 GHI score is 26 percent lower, indicating improvements in the region’s hunger situation.
Bangladesh, India, and Timor-Leste have the highest prevalence of underweight children under five, more than 40 percent in each of the three countries.
India has lagged behind in improving its GHI score despite strong economic growth. In India, 43.5 percent of children under five are underweight, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the country’s alarmingly high GHI score. From 2005-2010, India ranked second to last on child underweight— below Ethiopia, Niger, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Though India has worked to improve food security and nutrition in recent years through government-operated nutrition-relevant social programs, program effectiveness remains uncertain due to the absence of up-to-date information.
China has even lower GHI scores than predicted. It lowered its levels of hunger and undernutrition through a strong commitment to poverty reduction, social security networks, nutrition and health interventions, and improved access to safe water, sanitation, and education.
Bangladesh has overtaken India on a range of social indicators, including how fast it has reduced child mortality.