As much as 45-64% of the rural population of India in 2011 could not afford the diet recommended under the National Institute of Nutrition’s 2011 Dietary Guidelines for Indians, found a 2020 study by IFPRI. The study used 2011 data as there are no recent data available from the National Sample Survey Office.
“Across the board, it's evident that improved high-quality diets are essential to combat all types of malnutrition… Regardless of any other actions taken, a key step is to make healthier diets more affordable and accessible to a wider audience," says Menon.
The availability and aggressive marketing of unhealthy packaged foods have led to significant shifts in diets, making it easier for consumers to opt for these products, while the prices of essential nutritious foods like lentils, vegetables and fruits have soared, experts told IndiaSpend.
There are now local companies that are offering packaged food at affordable prices…Moreover there is the marketing of these products with their attractive colours and the spread of media which makes the products a household name
Research suggests that the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases in India is associated with a high consumption of carbohydrates and sugar
adding that an increased intake of sugar and fat products, as well as refined cereals, is linked to a rise in obesity and diabetes incidence, especially with sedentary lifestyles and abdominal obesity (belly fat)
Mid-day meals in India’s schools, as well as the take-home rations given as part of India’s Integrated Child Development Services programme for women and children, include distributing sugary items such as soya-based energy biscuits, cornflakes in Nagaland and Meetha Daliya (sweet porridge) in Uttar Pradesh, said Purnima Menon, senior research fellow at IFPRI. “Therefore, we need to seriously address the nutritional quality of the foods offered in public programmes.
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