Poshan Pakhwada: Millets, a better and healthy alternative for junk food
State level webinar organized for nutrition awareness among youth
A state-level webinar was organized today by the Women and Child Development Department in collaboration with UNICEF as a part of the Poshan Pakhwada to create nutrition awareness among the youth. Explaining the benefits of millets to the youth through the webinar, they were motivated to include millets in their daily diet. A large number of youth, and departmental staff including Nehru Yuva Kendra, Bharat Scout-Guide, NSS, and UNICEF participated in the webinar through Facebook Live.
Nodal Officer of Women and Child Development Department Mr. G.S. Maravi said that from March 20, Women and Child Development is celebrating Poshan Pakhwada with the cooperation of other departments. During this, many programs are being organized to create nutritional awareness and behavior change among the people. Departmental officer Mrs. Shruti Nerkar said that earlier ancestors used to extensively use grain or millets in their diet. But with the changing times, the style of consuming food in homes has changed a lot. A lot of junk and unhealthy foods are being consumed by a lot of people these days. Millets can be included in the diet to reap all the benefits of nutrition. She further said that the Women and Child Development, Health Department has been fighting malnutrition for a long time. Nutritional food and ready-to-eat food items are being provided to children, women and adolescent girls. But in this, the participation of every person of the society and the department is necessary. Youth can play a major role in driving nutritional behavior and dietary changes. Many types of delicious dishes can be made from millets. The youth should leave junk food and adopt nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle and also inspire others to do the same.
UNICEF nutritionist Mr. Mahendra Prajapati said that millets are easy to digest, are filled with nutrients and therefore useful for children as well as the elderly. It is also eco-friendly due to less water and has a higher yield. They are not very expensive either. He further explained that growth and development take place rapidly during adolescence and it is necessary to take a balanced diet at this time. Nowadays, due to the side effects of processed and unhealthy food items,cases of malnutrition and obesity are increasing. He told that according to the nutrition survey conducted between 2016 and 2018, deficiency of iron, vitamin A, D and vitamin B-12 was observed in a large number of boys and girls. It has also been found that a large number of teenagers consume excessive salt, sugar and fat rich food. Processed food or junk food is very high in calories and has harmful preservatives and very low in protein and fiber. Due to this,the youth are not getting holistic nutrition. Youth should try to have a balanced diet with the help of millets which is full of all micro and macro nutrients.
Highlighting the role of youth in popularizing nutrition and millets for youth, Mr. Abhishek Singh, expert, UNICEF, said that in order to create a positive behavior change, it is important to understand the target group, educate them and and dispel their myths.