Tuesday, September 4, 2012

High Salt And Sugar Content in Fast Food Items
As per available medical literature, fast food high on salt and sugar content are not good for health and hence may indirectly contribute to hypertension and obesity.

To discourage the consumption of junk and fast foods including carbonated drinks, the Chief Ministers / Health Ministers of all States / Union Territories (UTs) and Union Minister of Human Resources Development have been requested to issue instructions to concerned authorities for withdrawal of junk and fast foods including carbonated drinks from the canteens of educational institutes.

Various regional workshops are also organised to generate awareness about need to avoid junk foods, aerated beverages etc. and promotion of health lifestyle. To generate awareness among community about nutrition related issues including junk food and promoting health life styles, various Information Education Communication (IEC) materials viz. posters and folders on Micronutrient deficiencies, diet related chronic disorders, Promotion of healthy life styles for different age groups developed and sent to all States and UTs for further distribution at different levels.

In addition to above, Government of India has launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 100 selected districts in 21 States during the 11th Five Year Plan to combat the rising trend of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The programme, inter alia, emphasise on healthy life style. The key messages that are conveyed to the public under the programme are:-

 Increased intake of healthy foods (more vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates and low salt, sugar, fats)
 Increased physical activity through sports, exercise, etc.
 Avoidance of tobacco and alcohol
 Stress management
 Warning signs of cancer etc.

The ‘2008-2013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable diseases’ calls for promoting healthy diet through establishment and implementation of food-based dietary guidelines and supporting the healthier composition of food by reducing salt levels, limiting free sugars etc. Further, it recommends providing accurate and balanced information for consumers in order to enable them to make well-informed, healthy choices.

The Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health also recommends limitation of the intake of free sugars and salt (sodium) consumption from all sources.

According to the World Health Organization’s ‘Global Status Report on NCDs 2010, salt reduction strategies are considered as a best buy in the prevention of NCDs. Sound communication and information strategies are considered best buys for healthy diet promotion campaigns.

Under Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) – Act, 2006 & Rule/Regulations 2011, there is provision of nutritional labelling to specify the quantity of various nutrient components including sugar, salt, trans-fats etc.

The above information was given by the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today. 

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