The food regulatory authority of India, FSSAI has now brought Junk Foods under its scanner, and issued a list of guidelines to all the schools over its website. As per the drafted guidelines, country’s top food regulator is set to restrict consumption and availability of junk food in schools. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued draft guidelines on availability of wholesome and nutritious food in schools to control junk food consumption among children. (Official PDF Here)
Under the draft guidelines, which were first submitted to the court last year, food high in fat, salt or sugar will not be sold within 50 metres of a school’s premises.(Business Insider)
The objective of releasing this document is to provide wholesome, nutritional, hygienic and safe healthy food to the students across the 14 lakh schools in India. The lack of availability of balanced diet, nutritional food, awareness about food safety coupled with lack of physical activity among the school kids is the main central cause of many health related issues among school kids.
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A healthy lifestyle is cornerstone of good health, physical fitness, energy and reduced risk for disease. It is based on the choices one makes about his or her daily habits. Good nutrition, daily exercise and adequate sleep are the foundations for continuing health lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle includes diet based on balance, variety and moderation coupled with regular physical activity commensurate with one’s age, gender and body constitution. As per “Dietary Guidelines for Indians, 2011” by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), a balanced diet is one which provides all nutrients in required amounts and proper proportions. It should provide around 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates, about 10-15% from proteins and 20-30% from both visible and invisible fat. In addition, it should provide other non-nutrients such as dietary fibre, antioxidants, which bestow positive health benefits.
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Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight children are likely to become obese adults. As per WHO, about 44% of the diabetes burden and 23% of the CYD burden is attributable to overweight and obesity. Overweight children are more likely than non-overweight children to develop insulin resistance, hyper insulinemia, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, which in turn are associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability”.
Diabetes and pediatric metabolic syndrome
Type 2 diabetes which is very common in adults is now increasingly being reported in children. The leading risk factor for kids is being overweight, often connected with an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. According to a study done by Dr Anoop Mishra et alan post pubertal Indian children, 67% males with high BMI were found to have insulin resistance while overall prevalence was about 22% in males and 36% in females IS. As per the Diabetes Atlas 2006 published by the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes in India is around 40.9 million and is expected to rise to 69.9 million by 2025 unless urgent preventive steps are taken.
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Guidelines Drafted by FSSAI
- Restrict / Limit the Availability of most common High Fat Sugar and Salt (HFSS) Foods in Schools and area within 50 meters.
- Develop a Canteen Policy to provide Nutritious, Wholesome and Healthy Food in Schools.
- Regulate Promotion of ‘HFSS Food’ among School Children.
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India should consider reviewing the Labeling Regulations to enable disclosure of all Relevant Information.
- Establish Stringent Limits for Unhealthy Ingredients.
- Encourage Physical Activity by School Children.