Healthy Foods – A must have


Rajendra Pratap Gupta

President

Dated: October 22nd, 2010.

  1. Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad

Hon’ble Minister for Health & Family Welfare

Government of India

Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi -110108.

2. CEO’s of the industry

Subject: An important appeal

Dear Shri Azad ji & CEO’s ,

This appeal needs your esteem, kind and personal attention.

Disease Management Association of India (DMAI ) – The Population Health Improvement Alliance is thankful to the Ministry of Health & Family welfare for taking action on its recommendations for health reforms appeal sent last year ( dated November 23rd 2009 ). Members, associated organizations and the Board of Directors of DMAI – The Population Health Improvement Alliance, are highly appreciative of the steps that the current government is taking to tackle the healthcare issues concerning our nation.

One area where DMAI feels that the Ministry & the industry have to draw its focus and attend urgently is:

  • Issue guidelines & standards  ( and enforce them ) with regards to the food served in airlines , railways , other public transports, government canteens, private dining establishments, School canteens &  packed foods ( all forms )
  • All such foods / foods items must carry the calorific intake for each serving
  • The customer must be given a choice of low calorie, low glycemic index, and zero cholesterol options rather than forcing them to eat unhealthy foods that adds to the disease burden of this nation.
  • Above all, all packaged food companies must carry tips for good health on the individual packs – at least a one liner if not more!!

It is proven that Indians are genetically susceptible to circulatory disorders , and that we can only fight it by inculcating healthy eating habits by educating the public on healthy foods,  promoting healthy foods ,and at last , giving them an option to eat what is good for their health .

I have personally experienced that all the airlines, Indian railways, public transport and eateries are serving foods that have a high glycemic index, high in fat content and are loaded with calories that remain in the body as excess fats. Such foods are a slow poison for consumers!!  This is the main cause of India becoming a diseased nation, and the alarming rise in the obesity amongst children in addition to diabetes and hypertension.  DMAI had conducted a random Health Risk Assessment with 2000 people in association with IIHMR, Delhi.  The revelations have been shocking!! We have an abnormally high incidence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. It’s a call to action.

We have to aim at keeping the BMI of Indians below 23, and today, it is shocking that about 50 % of Urban Indians are either at the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension or joint pains or suffering from it.

By the time Indians reach forty years of age, they become patient of one form of illness or another. It is high time that we all get together and put efforts to make India a healthier nation. We cannot just blame the government for the healthcare issues and leave it to handle this issue alone!

Through this appeal, we expect all the airlines, public transport and eateries to ensure that they serve healthy food and carry the total calorific intake for each serving.

It is also expected that that all the concerned will take the  health of Indians as a top priority in all the offerings when it comes to foods intake , and give options like brown bread , sugar substitutes , low calorie and low fat meals as an option and not force the passengers & customers to eat high calorie meals.

DMAI is committed to working with all the major stake holders in the entire continuum of care to bring about a population health improvement through actionable steps

We expect the government to formulate definite guidelines on this issue, and the industry to take a proactive approach. Work place wellness must be focused on by the HR captains and CEO’s of all the ‘responsible’ corporations.

DMAI appreciates the proactive approach of the government to ensure healthcare for all. Should the government agencies need any assistance in drafting guidelines or in the implementation plan, DMAI would be more than happy to volunteer for the same

In hope of the needful

Sincerely

CC:

Dr.Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister

Ms.Sujatha Rao, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, GOI

Shri Dinesh Trivedi, MOS, HFW

Dr.K.Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI

Health Minister of States

CEO, Jet Airways, King Fisher Airlines, Goair, Indigo, Air India, Spicejet

Minister for Railways

Ministry of HRD / Ministry of Labour / Ministry of Civil Aviation

Koutenya Sinha, Editor Health, Economic Times

Sonal Shukla, Hindustan Times

Priyanka, DNA news

Rajdeep Sardesai

Barkha Dutt

CII, ASSOCHAM, FICCI & CIAT to circulate this to all its members

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One comment

  1. Anil Gupta

    Rajendra, Your letter falls short of addressing the unseen but more important issue concerning food, quality and availability. You are referring to selection of food…for rich & beautiful..the elite, unknowingly included as “masses” the “common man”. In larger perspective urbanisation and movement of village folks to urban/semi urban areas is making a significant change in food habits, choices, shift from conventional, healthy food one gets n villages to urbanised diet, and dependence upon “processed” , unhealthy as you say food, namely white bread, pav, pizzas and naans etc. This is having bad affect on health. What it is doing is increasing raw food/cereals/grains/vegetables per capita consumption. This viewed with increasing population, lesser growth in productivity oof agriculture produce and wastage in processing of food : be it potato chips, be it wheat, rice or vegetables…going to result in inflatio of food prices, shortages combined, to scarcity and large importance and then there is no going back to same food habits. In place of 300 millin you may soon have 500 million and then 700 million who would want bread, pizzas and naans. We would not be able to afford it unless backed up revolution in agriculture which is also possible to a limit.
    Then again you would look for support from other countries, may be growing up africas but a significant rise in import bill, logistics and expenditure in household sustainance.

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