By Lipakshi Seedhar (Feature Writer):
National Nutrition Week is observed all over India to highlight the need for nutrients for the human body. According to WHO, nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.
While India is the second-largest producer of wheat and rice, still about 189.2 million people are undernourished. The government has also taken significant steps to combat under and malnutrition over the past two decades, such as through the introduction of mid-day meals at schools, Anganwadi systems to provide rations to pregnant and lactating mothers, and subsidized grain for those living below the poverty line through a public distribution system. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, aims to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable through its associated schemes and programs, making access to food a legal right.
National Nutrition Week (NNW) is an annual nutrition event organized by the Food and Nutrition Board within the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. It was launched by the Food and Nutrition Board in 1982 and is observed throughout the country in the first week of September which is September 1–7. The week highlights the importance and role of the right nutrition for the human body. A balanced diet with a combination of essential nutrients and calories is pivotal for the smooth working and growth of a human body. NNW is celebrated with an objective to raise awareness on the importance of nutrition for health which has an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately national development.
Every year the Food and Nutrition Board specifies a theme for the national nutrition week and through its 43 Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units (CFNEUs) located in all the four regions of the country, it organizes workshops, orientation training of field functionaries, awareness generation camps and community meetings during the week. CFNEUs organize workshops, lectures, film and slide shows, exhibitions in collaboration with the concerned Departments of the State Governments, Educational institutions and Voluntary organizations. During educational programs, CFNEUs focuses on various aspects of health and nutrition, including the importance of immunization, breastfeeding, principles of hygiene and sanitation, conservation of nutrients during food preparation.
While in 2018, the focus of the week was ‘Go Further With Food’ which centered exploring nutritious food options, in 2019 it was ‘Har Ghar Poshan Vyavahar’ i.e., food for everyone. The theme of the National Nutrition Week 2020 is ‘Eat Right, Bite by Bite’. Broadly, the week addresses nutritional needs and healthy eating practices.
During these times of pandemic, it has become more important to get proper nutrition for the body to protect ourselves from getting infected. So, try to inculcate better eating habits in your daily life. This will not only keep you safe from the deadly virus but also make you more productive in your daily life by boosting up your immunity.