Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) pledge to feed starving multitude
10 Thousand Nutritionists will ‘starve’ 4 days a month
New Delhi, December 23: Indian Dietetic Association will take a pledge on upcoming ‘Dietetics Day’ on 10th of January that all its 10 thousand nationwide members would be ‘starving’ a day a week for the food security of really starving multitude. The rationale behind this symbolic action is to underline this is how dual burden of malnutrition- under nutrition and over nutrition- can be squared off.
This was announced at a press conference on sidelines of ongoing 3 days 47th Annual National Conference of IDA from December 21 at New Delhi AIIMS. The Theme of the conference was ‘Dual Burden of Malnutrition – A National Challenge’. About 1500 delegated from all over the country participated in this conference.
Unveiling IDA’s road map for underlining the dual burden of malnutrition- on one hand those who do not get enough food to eat and on the other hand those who overeat- plaguing India, Rekha Sharma, President, Indian Dietetic Association, said, ‘IDA’s every branch all over the country (32 branches) will adopt one poor area suffering from malnutrition and dieticians therein will be forgoing their one day’s meal each in a week to feed the under nourished.’
She said, ‘10 thousand dietician can not mitigate the problem of under nourished children’s malnutrition. It will only be a symbolic gesture to focus the attention of the nation and the powers that be on the need to address dual burden of under nutrition and over nutrition, which is wreaking havoc on the health of poor and rich alike. If those who are suffering from over nutrition can spare some food for those who do not get enough food to eat, they can help them and themselves too.’
Dr. Vimi Seth, the organizing president, said, ‘the theme of 10th January Dietetics Day will be – A Healthy Girl becomes a healthy mother. Good Nutrition is an investment like no other.’ Dr. Seema Puri, Associate Professor, Delhi University informed the media that the association will first adopt a slum suffering from malnutrition in Ballbhgarh (Haryana).
They said in a statement- India is facing a dual burden of malnutrition, namely chronic energy deficiency on one hand and obesity and its related disorders on the other. Increasing urbanization and improvements in economic development have led to over-nutrition and sedentary life styles. Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease are like a rising inferno in India, especially in urban areas, leading to metabolic syndrome. Accordingto WHO, incidence of obesity in India is 9%, concentrated in urban areas. Steady growth of relatively affluent urban middle class is now estimated to be over 200 million. 100 million are upper middle class, of which 50 million are overweight subjects. According to world Health Report, excess weight attributes globally to approximately 58% of diabetes, 21% of heart disorders and 8-42% of certain cancers.
Dr. Rekha Sharma says, ‘ “Obesity is the mother of all non communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease which can be prevented by good nutrition and active life style.”
DUAL BURDEN OF MALNUTRITION
The double burden of malnutrition is defined by the co-existence of serious levels of under- and over-nutrition. The National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3) data indicate that there has been a decline (from 36.2 to 33.0%) in the percentage of married adult women (15–49 years) having a body mass index (BMI is calculated as weight in Kg/height in meters2 ) below normal (BMI < 18.5 kg ⁄m2) from the NFHS-2 survey (1998–1999), while the percentage of overweight ⁄ obese women (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg ⁄m2) has increased from 10.6% to 14.8%. These data show that although the problem of under nutrition is still a major issue, the problem of over-nutrition is emerging as a broader public health challenge in India.
India is facing an ‘epidemic’ of diet-related non-communicable diseases (DR-NCDs), along with widely prevalent under nutrition, resulting in substantial socio-economic burden. This health transition, favoured by demographic changes towards aging populations, is occurring at an increased pace in urban societies widely exposed to “nutritional transition”. Nutrition transition is marked by rapid urbanization and mechanization leading to reduction in the energy expenditure along with an increase in energy intake due to increased purchasing power and availability of high fat, energy-dense fast foods. While increased national and household incomes facilitate the initial change, as the transition advances, poor people progressively become the main victims.
Recent scientific evidence suggests that children, who experienced intra-uterine growth retardation, resulting in low birth weight, appear to be programmed to develop along a lower growth trajectory. Paradoxically, however, many overweight and obese adults are those who had experienced calorie deprivation and faltering growth in early childhood. The metabolic imprinting due to intra-uterine and infant under nutrition is thought to play a significant role in increased insulin resistance, obesity and chronic diseases when these children are exposed to abundant food and modern lifestyle, later in life. Treatment and secondary prevention of nutrition-related chronic diseases and associated disabilities have an ever rising cost, which poses a huge economic burden. It is estimated that the cost for treating under nutrition is 27 times of the cost of preventing it. Prevention, as early as possible, is of critical importance for achieving significant reductions in under nutrition levels.
On the other hand, as per the World Health Organization data, an estimated 60 per cent of all deaths in India are due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It is estimated that India stands to lose USD 4.58 trillion to non-communicable diseases and mental disorders between 2012 and 2030, an amount more than double India’s annual GDP.
This double burden of infectious diseases and under nutrition, and of non-communicable diseases and over nutrition, represents a threat to the healthcare services in India. There is a clear need to focus health policies on the prevention of chronic diseases through primary health care services, the use of mass media for communication and education about healthy nutrition and lifestyle, and the adaptation of public policies. Nutritionists must also adapt to this changing nutritional situation which may result in apparently contradictory nutritional status findings within societies, if not even within households.