Improving eating habits in India among school going children: The eat right school programme
The triple burden of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity, especially in children and adolescents, could adversely impact India's social and economic progress. The NFHS-5 (2019-21) data shows that one in two adolescents aged 15-19 years are anaemic. Similarly, as per CNNS (2016-18), one in four children and adolescents aged 5-19 years are underweight and overweight and obesity are on the rise in both the age groups. Since childhood dietary behaviours impact wellbeing in adulthood and since food preferences are shaped during school years, cultivating healthy food choices through age-appropriate interventions is vital for school-age children. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare initiated the Eat Right School programme in 2017 as an interactive learning model designed to help school children to develop safe healthy and sustainable eating habits. Schools are encouraged to implement Eat Right activities within the school curriculum and during extracurricular activities under the themes of ‘Eat Healthy’, ‘Eat Safe’ and ‘Eat Sustainable’. Several interactive media strategies have been used to allow for the sharing of information and to provide an engaging digital environment. The details are available here. The FSSAI has created a rich repository of content on food safety and nutrition that may be adopted into the school curriculum. These materials are available in the resources section. We hope that these resources help you to accelerate efforts to promote healthy dietary choices and behaviour for every child.