NEW DELHI: An Inter-ministerial Committee has recommended that all food items falling under the definition of junk food should be banned from school canteens.
The Committee, constituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to look into the issues related to growing problems of obesity in children and its association with consumption of junk food, had submitted its report last week. And the report is under the consideration of the ministry.
The Committee suggested that vendors or street vendors should not be permitted to sell these foods during school timings with a 200m radius of these educational institutions. It also suggested that shops and restaurants located within the presribed area should not be allowed to sell these kind of food items to children in school uniforms.
Expressing concern at the growing incidence of obesity among children and the related physiological issues, including diabetes and hypertension, the Committee also listed the consequences of the psychological/behavioural dysfunctional behaviour in children, including binge-eating, body dis-satisfaction and low self-esteem.
It also advocated comprehensive definition of junk food in the context of children and has suggested that a list of desirable food items be offered at the school canteen.Headed by Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, the Committee recommended that the pre-packaged food should carry labels clearly stating that it was “unfit for infant/children/pregnant and lactating mothers”. A number of recommendations have been made regarding the modification of the school health card.
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