HYDERABAD: Indians need to add more diversity to their plate. Pointing out the sad state of nutrition consumption in the country, National Institute of Nutrition, Director, Dr R Hemalatha pointed out that over the last three decades there has not been much change in the dietary intake of Indians, except for a marginal rise in consumption of fats.
She was speaking at the inaugural of the three-day international conference on ‘Aligning food systems for healthy diets and improved nutrition’, at NIN on Sunday. Giving an example of the narrow choices of food Indians mostly consume she said that while consumption of fruits and vegetables itself is very low in the country, even whatever small amount of fruits and vegetable is consumed most of it comes from potato and banana.
Dr Hemalatha also stressed on the need for improving affordability and accessibility of food. She cited the observation that dietary intake of people who are covered under the Public Distribution Scheme has been found to be poorer in nutritional diversity when compared to others. She also pointed out that poor nutritional diversity in food tops the list of factors causing cardiovascular diseases, along with air pollution and tobacco.
Apart from promoting lifestyle diseases, consuming food with poor nutritional diversity can also cause the ‘thin fat’, located inside the body (known as visceral fat) while the external appearance of the person would be thin or fit looking.
‘RUTF is not for Indians’
Rajesh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women Development and Child Welfare, said India does not need to take help of RUTF, usually peanut butter fortified with high doses of nutrients
Fortified rice in schools
Kumar said that he would deliberate upon making usage of fortified rice mandatory in Anganwadis and school, for mid-day meals. As of now, usage of fortified wheat flour, oil and salt is mandatory