RSTV-THE BIG PICTURE – JUNKING JUNK FOOD
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 fat, salt or sugar can not be sold to children in school canteens , mess , premises , hostel kitchens or with in 50 metre of the school campus. Junk food is considered as one of the leading causes of health problems so how will these guidelines help in tackling this problem.
- It is unhealthful food that is high in calories from sugar or fat, with little dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, or other important forms of nutritional value.
- Precise definitions vary by purpose and over time.
- Some high-protein foods, like meat prepared with saturated fat, may be considered junk food.
- The term HFSS foods (high in fat, salt and sugar) is used synonymously.
- Fast food and fast food restaurants are often equated with junk food, although fast foods cannot be categorically described as junk food.
- Most junk food is highly processed food.
- Concerns about the negative health effects resulting from a junk food-heavy diet, especially obesity, have resulted in public health awareness campaigns, and restrictions on advertising and sale in several countries.
- Junk food is a pejorative term, dating back at least to the 1950s.
Adverse Effects of Junk food:
- Increased Obesity
One of the most common side-effects of consuming junk foods is increased obesity. It’s composition of loads of sugar, calories and fats contribute to weight-gain. Obesity can cause many medical issues like diabetes, joint-pain and heart diseases.
- Loss of Memory and Learning Problems
A study published stated that people who ate junk food performed poorly in cognitive tests. It concluded that junk foods can deteriorate your memory and can leave with you with a weaker brain. It causes a sudden inflammation in the hippocampus in the brain which is responsible for memory and recognition.
- Lead to Depression
Junk foods are loaded with high sugar and fats that can cause certain chemical reactions in the brain which affect its functioning. By consuming too much of it, the body loses essential nutrients and amino acids. These symptoms eventually lead to inability of brain to deal with stress and can leave you feeling depressed.
- Worsens Appetite and Digestion
Consumption of excess junk food leaves the brain in a dilemma. Excessive sugar intake can cause blood sugar level to fluctuate and makes the brain demand more food, which eventually leads to overeating. It makes it difficult for the body to digest excessive junk food.
- Inadequate Growth & Development
Surviving on junk food causes deficiency of essential nutrients and vitamins required for the proper growth and development of the body. Excess intake of soda and sugar also causes tooth decay and weakening of your bones.
- Ban on advertising and sales: It prohibits the sale and advertisement of food rich in fat, sugar, and salt to schoolchildren inside the school premises and within 50 m around it.
- Promote a balanced diet: It requires schools to simultaneously encourage and promote a safe and balanced diet.
- No branding: Food companies are prohibited from using their logos, brand names and product names on books and other educational materials, as well as on school property such as buildings, buses, and athletic fields.
- Healthy Diet: The agency recommends the use of a combination of whole grains, milk, eggs, and millets.
- Guidelines for food products: It also listed a set of general guidelines for the selection of food products that can be offered in schools.
Why is it Important?
- This move is a much-needed one given India’s increasing burden of type-2 diabetes.
- India is witnessing an accelerated rise in the prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases according to the National Health Profile 2019 and diabetes is one of them.
- A World Obesity Federation study states that an estimated 27.4 million children and teenagers in the country will be afflicted by obesity in 2030, placing India only behind China which tops the list with 61.9 million obese children/adolescents between the ages of five to 19 years in just over a decade.
- Ours is a fast-evolving, consumer-based and middle-class to upper middle-class society. Indians have a very high level of obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
- The most vulnerable are children and India has 35% of its population under the age of 18 years.
How to implement this guidelines effectively?
- By coming up with food timetable which can be followed.
- Setting up a committee at school.
- Collaborative initiative with parents and teachers.
- Have create awareness among childrens.
- The onus of inculcating healthy eating habits also starts at home.
- Besides taking steps to reduce the intake of unhealthy food, both schools and parents should ensure children get adequate physical activity, which is increasingly being neglected for various reasons.
- It is a combination of healthy food and regular physical activity that will go a long way in bringing up healthier children.
Growing up on junk food will lead to improper cognitive development in children, and result in lack of well-rounded intelligent individuals which is very important for a country like India which is banking on their demographic dividend for development. Therefore, the focus of the entire draft is to ensure a healthy future for the children as their health is of primary concern.
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