Nutrition Current Affairs
India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in farm sector will be launched on occasion of World Food Day (October 16) with focus on agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner.
The Programme will be initiated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
The programme consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for biofortified plants and initiation of ‘Zero Hunger’ training. A genetic garden for biofortified plants contains germplasm of naturally biofortified crops through plant breeding. It has plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine among others.
The Programme initially will be launched in three districts – Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Koraput (Odisha) and Thane (Maharashtra). These three districts will act as model of integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural or horticultural practices.
The Programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring impact of intervention by identifying the nutritional maladies in each district and applying appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.
This dedicated farm-based programme is in sync with India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030. It will be in addition government’s plan to deal with issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
The National Nutrition Week will be observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of for year 2017 is “Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health“.
The objective of this event is to intensify awareness generation on importance of nutrition for health which has an overall impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately National development.
During this week, Food and Nutrition Board of Ministry of Women & Child Development will coordinate with concerned Department of the State/UT Governments, NGOs, National Institutions and organize State/UT Level Workshops, Functionaries, Orientation Training of Fields Awareness Generation Camps, Community meetings.
Moreover, large numbers of awareness activities were organized at state, district and village levels. One day workshops to sensitize and for capacity building of State/Districts Level officers on importance of nutrition for better health will be also held.
Mini exhibition on nutrition displaying low cost nutritious diets and its importance for different age groups will also be organized at grassroots level. Besides, awareness generation on weight management and its importance through Body Mass Index (MBI) will also be held for adolescent boys and girls.
Importance of Nutrition
Nutrition is important survival, health and development issue for current and succeeding generations. All age groups represent National Economic Asset, so improving nutritional status of population is imperative for National Development.
Under nutrition in young children continues to be a major public health problem in India. Child born underweight has impaired immune function and increased risk of diseases in their later life. Malnourished children tend to have lower IQ and impaired cognitive ability, which affects their school performance and productivity in later life. According to the NFHS4, there is no improvement in the nutritional status, especially among women and children even though level of underweight has decreased by 6.8%, stunting by 9.6%, anaemia by 11% as compared to NNHS-3 figures.