New Delhi: To deal with increasing obesity among children, a government-appointed committee has suggested a slew of measures including ban on sale of junk food in and around schools.
The Committee on Consumption of Junk Food by School Children, set up by the Women and Child Development Ministry, has suggested a comprehensive definition of junk food in the context of children and that all such food items should be banned in school canteens, an official release said.
"It has also suggested that street-vendors should not be permitted to sell these foods during school timings in a vicinity of 200 metres from any school. Shops and restaurants selling food within 200 metres of a school should not be permitted to sell these to children in school uniforms," it said.
After a comprehensively review of prevalent practices of regulation of junk food in 23 countries across the world, it recommended a list of desirable food items to be offered in the school canteen and labelling of pre-packaged food stating clearly as 'unfit for infant/children/pregnant and lactating mothers or persons with specific ailments'.
The Committee, which was set up to look into the issues related to growing problems of obesity in children and its relationship with consumption of junk food, expressed concern about the increasing incidence of obesity in them and the related-physiological issues including diabetes and hypertension.
"A number of recommendations have been made regarding modification of school health card to include nutrition related aspects and that the School Health Programme should be renamed as School Health and Nutrition Programme," the release said.
The Committee has given detailed recommendations regarding establishment and management of school canteen and comprehensive advertisement, promotion campaign to be undertaken jointly by different stakeholder ministries.
While the Ministry is examining the report, it has made recommendations after examining the legislative and institutional framework available in India.