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Packaged Junk Food Major Component Of Unhealthy Diets: Medics At AIIMS Rishikesh Seminar

Packaged Junk Food
Rishikesh (The Hawk): A seminar was organized by AIIMS Rishikesh. in seminar delegate AIIMS, PGIMER, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine, Indian Public Health Association, Indian Academy of Paediatrics and Epidemiological Foundation of India (EFI), along with leading doctors from other top medical institutes have issued a clarion call for mandatory front-of-pack food labels (FOPL). 
asserted that millions of lives will be saved if India establishes scientific cut-off limits for salt, sugar, saturated fats and mandates clear and simple warning label on packaged products as has been done in countries like Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. they said that With 135 million people obese and deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the rise, India is facing the devastating impact of an unhealthy diet.  Packaged junk food which is a major component of unhealthy diets is responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor and is a leading cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. 
addressing to seminar Prof. Ravi Kant, Director AIIMS Rishikesh said, “A strong and effective FOPL is a public health priority for India. The medical community of India stands in solidarity with this important policy measure that will protect thousands of Indian lives.” Chief Guest Dr. Saroj Nathani, Director, National Health Mission, Uttarakhand stressed upon healthy eating should be a part of our everyday life as was preached by our forefathers. “India has a rich tradition which advocates for food which is nutritious, pure and tasty but with the advent of processed food life has changed. Youngsters are typically addicted to processed packaged food and are commonly found in every household. In this scenario, the front of package labels is helpful to intimate the consumer about the healthiness of the product.
According to Dr. Suneela Garg, President, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM), “All of these conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease or cancers are closely linked to excessive intake of energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods and beverages. World over, countries are recognizing that consumers have the right to accurate health information regarding these products as part of their right to health. Front-of-package warning labeling FOPL is a key component of a comprehensive strategy to promote healthier lives, as it enables consumers to identify in a quick, clear, and effective way, products that are high in the nutrient of concern associated with the NCD burden in India. 
According to Euromonitor estimates, in India, the sale of ultra-processed food has increased from 2 kg per capita in 2005, to 6kg in 2019 and is expected to grow to 8kg in 2024. Similarly, beverages have gone up from less than 2 L in 2005 to about 8 L in 2019 and are expected to grow to 10 L in 2024. Dr. Sanjay Rai, President of Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), emphasized that “While a FOPL is indeed one of the most effective approaches to positively impact public health, it is also important to choose the correct format. Evidence from across the world indicates a warning label system of FOPL.
Dr. Umesh Kapil said, “Experts across the world have conducted research and compiled field level studies to develop the NPM frameworks. The WHO SEARO model was put together in consultation with member countries in the region and is perfectly aligned to the Codex Alimentarius or food code. All the experts present have agreed to send a set of recommendations to the Ministry of Health and hope to work with the government of India towards a healthier and accountable food system.