India Makes Public Health A Priority With “Eat Right India”

Published: January 11, 2020

The Government of India has launched a massive media campaign to boost the Eat Right India movement. Along with POSHAN Abhiyaan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, Ayushman Bharat Yojana, and Swachh Bharat Mission, the Eat Right India movement forms the crux of the government’s flagship health initiatives.

What is “Eat Right India”?

The Eat Right India movement was launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2018. The primary aim of the programme was to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years. It also wants to raise awareness among citizens and allow them to improve their health and well-being by choosing the right food.

Why is this movement necessary?

India is suffering from widespread non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments, and hypertension. There is a lack of proper nutrition even among the well-to-do urban population who are suffering from rampant deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. There is also a spread of food-borne illness. The Eat Right India movement aims at encouraging social and behavioral changes when it comes to food through soft interventions and regulations. For example, over 6 lakh deaths occur every year from cardiovascular complications due to over-consumption of transfat alone. India is committed to its goal of eliminating trans fat from diets by the year 2022.

What has been achieved so far?

So far, the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India has placed robust regulatory measures under Eat Safe, Eat Health and Eat Sustainably for the programme, which are the three pillars of the movement. A total limit of 25% has been placed on Total Polar Compounds for cooking oil. This helps avoid the harmful effects of reusing cooking oil.

Way Forward

India has a widespread problem with malnutrition. Add to it the disease burden due to overconsumption of harmful macronutrients and underconsumption of useful micronutrients, it becomes a situation prominently difficult to handle. However, India doesn’t need just more regulations in place. The authorities must now concentrate on executing the already in place rules and ensuring they are enforced. Food-related products should abide by standards put forth by FSSAI. Restaurants and other eateries must be monitored to ensure the elimination of food-borne diseases. There need to be public awareness campaigns to educate people on good and bad food. The Food and Safety Authority of India is determined. We can only hope that with the right measures in place, they succeed.

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