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03rd May 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 03rd May 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu 

Editorial : Powering up food 

Context:

FSSAI has brought guidelines with respect to food fortification to address the micro-nutrient deficiency in India

Important Points:

  • As per WHO estimates, deficiency of key micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A and iodine together affects a third of the world’s population; in general, there is insufficient consumption of vitamins and minerals
  • Since a diversified diet that meets all nutritional requirements is difficult to provide, many countries rely on food fortification to prevent malnutrition
  • In India, processed foods with standards-based fortification can help advance overall health goals, starting with maternal health.
  • Firstly, iron-fortified food should be made widely available, since iron deficiency contributes to 20% of maternal deaths and is associated with nearly half of all maternal deaths. 
  • Malnutrition extends to the children that anaemic women give birth to, characterised by low birth weight, poor development and lower cognitive abilities, and such children are generally born pre-term.
  • Low intake of vitamins, zinc and folate also causes a variety of health issues, particularly when growing children are deprived.
  • Fortification, along with a focus on adequate intake of oils and fats, which are necessary for the absorption of micronutrients, can lead to maximum benefits.
  • FSSAI has introduced fortification standards but now must enforce them. The FSSAI plans to get local flour mills to add premixed nutrients
  • Making affordable, good quality fortified foods, through standardised processes, and distributing them through a well-functioning public distribution system is the best channel to target those most in need.
  • This will provide near to medium-term gains. In the long term, public health goals on prevention and elimination of nutritional deficiencies should aim at encouraging people to adopt a diversified and wholesome diet.
  • Recent studies show that, in case of children, adding zinc to food during the six months to 12 years growth period reduced the risk of death from infectious diseases and all causes put together.
  • Children, including those in school, should get a wholesome cooked meal that is naturally rich, and augmented with vegetables, fruits, and dairy.
  • However, it is important that food regulation views the issue of affordability as a central concern, because unaffordable fortified food would defeat the very purpose of fortification.

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