With an aim to improve the food quality in school canteens and mid-day meal community kitchens, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra’s Mumbai division will start an ‘Eat Right Food’ campaign across the city.
The campaign aims to improve the nutrition quality of food with the tagline ‘Freedom from junk food’.
Shashikant Kenkre, joint commissioner, Food, FDA (Mumbai division) said, “We aim to spread this initiative in around 1,000 schools in Mumbai (both government as well as private schools) and 169 community kitchens. We already have 18 ‘Eat Right Campus’ in Mumbai and we are trying to expand the initiative further.”
Students usually suffer from lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure by eating unhealthy, junk food.
The FDA will share guidelines of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on promoting healthy food habits in schools. “Besides training and giving them guidelines about healthy food, we will also be conducting regular inspections. During regular inspections, we usually check the quality of raw materials used, hygienic condition of the canteen or place where the food is cooked, the sample of cooked food is collected for testing and validity of licence,” Kenkre added.
According to health experts, junk foods like chips, burger, pizza, chocolates, and sugar drinks like energy drinks can affect children`s health to a great extent. These foods basically affect the body in form of increased calories and reduced calorie expenditure.
Speaking about the ill-effect of junk food on school students, Dr Uday Sanglodkar, Senior Consultant, Hepatology and Liver Transplant, Global Hospital, said, “junk food is a term which describes food that is very high in calories in the form of sugar and fat. Also, it has a high amount of sodium and contains very little amount of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and other important forms of nutritional value. An increase in the amount of calories in your body without exercise causes obesity.”
“Obesity after some time causes insulin resistance and finally it affects the liver in the form of fatty liver. This fatty liver remains the same for five years or ten years. It may cause complete damage to your liver. Besides this regularly consuming junk food can be addictive for children and lead to complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression, as well as affecting how they perform in school and extracurricular activities,” he added.