Immunity and Nutrition

India's challenge is no longer focused on food availability but on accessibility to safe and healthy food.

Immunity and Nutrition

India's challenge is no longer focused on food availability but on accessibility to safe and healthy foods and diets.

According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, over half of all Indians, especially women, eat an unbalanced diet devoid of green vegetables, fresh fruits, milk products, pulses, and meat that are needed to lead a healthy life.

The study further found that in India, food habits are discriminatory in terms of gender to a larger extent. When it comes to food consumption habits, there are two broad classes in India—firstly, the families who can’t afford fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk and secondly, who can afford them but discriminate between female and male children. Women in India are trained to eat less, and their dietary requirements are often neglected, which is why most of them suffer from anaemia. The pattern of food consumption by men is similar to that of women, but men are slightly more likely than women to consume milk, fruits, curd, chicken, or egg regularly.

A healthy diet is a solution to many of our health-care problems. It's the most important solution. John Mackey

A healthy diet can be described as a diet that helps to maintain or improve overall health. It provides the body with essential nutrition: macronutrients, micronutrients, adequate calories, and water. A healthy diet should maximize the consumption of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes and limit the use of red meats as well as refined and ultra-processed foods. However, the exact composition of a well-balanced, diversified, and healthy diet varies from one individual to another based on factors like age, gender, culture, lifestyle, availability of food, and health conditions. But the basic principles of what constitutes a healthy diet remain the same.

The rapid lifestyle changes and dietary patterns can be largely linked to the increasing prevalence of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Indians. Moreover, according to the 2016 United Nations World Cities Report, India will have seven megacities by 2030. Urbanization puts pressure on food systems, adds to nutrition challenges, and threatens food security. Rapid urbanization, hectic work schedules, and high economic growth have resulted in greater access to commercially available processed and packaged foods. Scientific evidence indicates that regular consumption of foods high in simple carbohydrates (sugar), salt, fats, and industrial trans fats is one of the prime reasons for the sudden increase in overweight/ obesity and NCDs in India. It is, therefore, important to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to lead a healthy life. Choosing foods wisely, whether people eat at home or outside, becomes vital while eating healthy.

We at Food Future Foundation are working to bring about behavioral change around healthy diets using the strategies that engage, excite, and enable people to make changes in their daily diets. Using a similar approach, we seek to transform the supply-side and the overall food environment with a long-term vision for 2050.

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