ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Interpretations and Implications of Increasing Obesity in India

The National Family Health Survey-3 and 4 data show that in the past 10 years, overweight/obesity among women in terms of Body Mass Index has increased quite sharply. In the Indian context, undernutrition and obesity are not separate problems. A large proportion of overweight/obese women are undernourished, with small stature, food transition towards more fats and increasingly sedentary lifestyles making them vulnerable towards being overweight/obese. More diversified diet reduces the risk of overweight/obesity. It is suggested that adequate and good quality diversified diets need to be ensured for comprehensive energy and nutrient adequacy. This requires an overhaul of India’s food programmes.

Millets in the Indian Plate

Millets can play a role in providing nutrition security as they are rich in various macro and micronutrients, and can help to fight various non-communicable diseases. Hence, a suggestion was made to include them in the basket of goods provided through the public distribution system. The findings of this article suggest that, with the present level of production, millets can be provided in some states of India which have culturally grown as well as consumed them. However, scaling this policy to the national level may not be possible unless rigorous measures are undertaken to improve production as well as consumer acceptability.

Towards Equality in Healthcare

The Rapid Survey on Children shows a new trend of an increased access to healthcare by marginalised communities like Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes which have made substantial gains in the last decade. However much needs to be achieved in the realm of nutrition and sanitation where these communities remain acutely deprived.

Foodgrains : Distribution Woes

Distribution Woes The targeted public distribution system (TPDS) was launched in 1997 in order to make up for the many lacunae in the PDS programme in terms of reaching food to the poorest and the most needy. Under the TPDS, state governments were required to design and implement a system of identifying the poor and ensuring distribution of foodgrains to them in a transparent manner. TPDS was initially aimed to cover 6 crore families for whom 72 lakh tonnes of foodgrains were to be allocated annually. The per family allocation for the belowpoverty- line (BPL) population was gradually increased from 10 kg per month to the present 35 kg per month. Yet, according to a recent report of the standing committee of parliament attached to the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, offtake of wheat and rice under the PDS has been consistently way below allocations year after year. The offtake in 2001-02 was below 50 per cent of allocation, which was more or less the situation in the earlier years too.

Edible Oil Consumption

In India, edible oils are a significant source of essential fats. However, fat intake is almost absent among the rural poor, for whom edible oils are largely unaffordable. Edible oil consumption should be encouraged among the rural poor by supply via PDS at low cost. Steps to boost cultivation and lower the cost of production and import will also help to meet requirements.

Strategies to Combat Under-Nutrition

Household nutrition security in the 21st century must come to mean a lot more than avoidance of starvation. Foods for families must be adequate; that is, not just meet the bare energy needs for survival, but provide all the nutrients essential for normal development. The changing nutrition scene is influenced directly and indirectly by several interrelated factors. There is a need to evolve nutritional-orientation of food production programmes; examine and reverse the mistakes of the past and use new knowledge and technologies to evolve new strategies for combating under-nutrition.
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