- What are the draft guidelines?
- How big is the problem of Junk Food?
- What is the Eat Right Movement?
- Criticism of the draft guidelines (by the panellists):
- Way Forward
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- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India – FSSAI has recently released draft regulations for ensuring healthy food for children titled as Food Safety and Standards (Safe food and healthy diets for school children) Regulation, 2019.
- One of the important regulations proposed in this draft is that foods which are high on fat, salt or sugar cannot be sold to children in school canteens, mess, premises, hostel kitchens or within 50 metres of the school campus.
What are the draft guidelines?
- The main focus of the draft guidelines is on the school where children are being inculcated through education, curriculum on how to eat a healthy diet and have a balanced nutritious diet.
The guidelines form part of the Eat Right Movement and focuses on non-availability of junk food near school premises. Important guidelines are:
· Schools need to become eat right schools. Eat right schools mean, schools will encourage children to have balanced, healthy and nutritious food and also encouraged to not to waste food.
· Food business operators cannot sell food which is high in salt, sugar, fat within the school premises or 50 metres of the school campus.
· All food contractors have to be licensed.
· Schools will ensure, canteens, mess or vendors are registered under the Food Safety and Standard act.
· Schools will follow a diet plan document prepared by the National Institute of Nutrition.
· The schools should take help of nutritionists and dietitians in preparing menu for children periodically.
How big is the problem of Junk Food?
- Junk food is considered as one of the leading causes of health problems. This is considered to be dangerous, especially for children who are in the growing up age.
- According to a recent survey, conducted by the Government of India along with UNICEF, 10% of all school kids were found to be pre-diabetic. Also, all risk factors for Non- Communicable Diseases, like hypertension, chronic kidney diseases were found with these children. Junk food also affects the cognitive development of children.
- One cause of children eating junk food is that children prefer to eat junk food while the other cause is parents are not educated or are unaware.
What is the Eat Right Movement?
- This is an initiative of the FSSAI. The programme aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.
- It is built on two broad pillars “Eat Healthy and “Eat Safe”. It is a collective effort to encourage people towards making the right food and dietary choices. It focuses on both sides- demand and supply side to come together.
Criticism of the draft guidelines
- Banning advertising around the area will not solve the problem. Moreover, this is a digital age.
- The biggest challenge for these guidelines would be on implementation.
The guidelines focus on ensuring healthy future for children. All stakeholders have to make concerted and coordinated effort to ensure these guidelines are followed so as to reap the demographic dividend.