New Delhi, Dec 26: Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Thursday stressed the need for a Jan Andolan, a peoples’ movement, encouraging people to have healthier diets to help in reduction of the disease burden in the country. Speaking after inaugurating the second edition of the ‘Eat Right Mela’ at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here, the Minister said the Eat Right Mela of FSSAI is a commendable effort and outreach activity for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
Noting that “the right kind of diet will help to reduce the disease burden in the country," he said and suggested that 'Let the ‘Eat Right Melas’ be part of public gatherings like local melas, community programmes, so that the citizens would learn about health and nutrition benefits of different types of food, dietary advice by experts, engage in dialogues and conversations with food visionaries and experts, relish the delicious street food, live demonstration of food recipes and have fun and entertainment." He pointed out that on one hand India was suffering from under-nourishment resulting in wasting and stunting and on the other side, obesity arising from excessive consumption of junk food, wrong choices of food, overeating and lack of exercise.
At the same time, the rise of dietrelated diseases suggested that people were eating less healthy food than they were eating a decade ago. In this context, he said, the movement of ‘Eat Right India’ started by FSSAI is "a timely initiative”. On the occasion, the Minister launched ‘The PURPLE Book’ a handbook on diets for diseases providing general guidelines for hospitals on suitable diets for common medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and gut disorders in a simple format and has been developed by experts and nutritionists. This book is available for free download on www.fssai.gov.in. He also launched NetSCoFAN (Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition), a network of research & academic institutions working in the area of food & nutrition along with the NetSCoFAN directory, covering detailed information of various heads/Directors and lead scientists of lead and associated partnering institutions.
The NetSCoFAN would comprise eight groups of institutions working in different areas such as biological, chemical, nutrition & labelling, food of animal origin, food of plant origin, water & beverages, food testing, and safer & sustainable packaging. FSSAI has identified eight nodal institutions which would develop a ‘Ready Reckoner’ that will have inventory of all research work, experts and institutions and would carry out and facilitate research, survey and related activities. It would identify research gaps in respective areas and collect, collate and develop database on food safety issues for risk assessment activities. 'The need for identify research gaps in respective areas and collect, collate and develop database on food safety issues for risk assessment activities, will be addressed by NetSCoFAN (Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition)', Dr Harsh Vardhan said. Dr Vardhan emphasised the importance of ‘Save Food Share Food’.