In a welcome move, Maharashtra government has announced a state wide ban on junk food products in the school cafeterias.
This declaration from the state government has come two years after the Centre had issued a report suggesting the high risks including obesity and diabetes involved in the junk food products that students consume.
In a recommendation report jointly prepared by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) with the team at National institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, the committee suggested that the consumption of food falling under the category of HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) tend to raise the probability of occurrence of diseases like obesity, dental, heart problem with diabetes always at the topmost risk.
However, this ban which is enforced on state-affiliated schools mainly, don’t have cafeterias, but they do sell food through outsiders/vendors where HFSS food is served in high proportions. HFSS food doesn’t have constituents such as vitamins , protein and minerals which are essential for the comprehensive growth of the children. Hence, they are left out from consuming these enriching minerals which eventually affect their performance and growth.
The report was issued by the center in December 2014 which was then soon implemented by the Central Board of Secondary School in all its schools, but state boards did not go with it immediately. Though the authorities taking these recommendations into implementation after more than 2 years, the experts have welcome it and also urge for taking other guidelines from GR (government resolution) into consideration which include creating awareness among students for a healthy food habits.
According to Dr. Jagmeet Madan, the Vice-president of the Indian Dietetic Association, this a welcome move by the government and more such initiatives have to flag off to make HFSS food less in reach of children and focusing more on encouragement of healthy food like pulses, cereals, green vegetables, etc.