Next to childhood malnutrition, now over-nutrition becomes a rising concern

There is a growing number of obese children and youth. The Additional Secretary (Health and Nutrition), NITI Aayog, Dr Rakesh Sarwal described obesity as a “silent epidemic.”

  • PPI Staff

New Delhi: Thousands of children in India have an average of two meals a day or even less, facing malnutrition. Now, UNICEF raised concern of over-nutrition in India. There is a growing number of obese children and youth. The Additional Secretary (Health and Nutrition), NITI Aayog, Dr Rakesh Sarwal described obesity as a “silent epidemic.”

NITI Aayog today assembled the National Convention on Prevention of Maternal, Adolescent and Childhood Obesity chaired by Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and Co-chairmanship of Dr. R Hemalatha, Director, Nutrition Institute of India.

Professor William Joe, IEG presented data on trends of obesity in India. Chief Nutrition of UNICEF, Arjan de Wagt shared evidence of over nutrition, collected by UNICEF. Expertise from different Organizations, including the World Health Organization discussed the need to prevent obesity and various strategies, like introducing obesogenic marketing on national Television and create diversify food-based social safety nets. Tim Lobstein from the World Obesity Federation said “the cost of treating obesity, is the cost of junk food marketing.”

All participants of the convention emphasized the need to promote healthy behavior in children and youth and a favorable policy landscape.

The problem of increasing obesity among India’s children and youth has to be addressed on a priority basis. Physical activity, a healthy eating and lifestyle has to be encouraged. To tackle the twin challenges of malnutrition and obesity in India, a whole of government approach and whole of society approach is needed. India has to adopt strategies to fiscal measures, promoting healthy diet, regulation for front-of-package labelling and physical activities, which are key themes for future counseling and actions.

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