Jul 05, 2011 at 12:26pm IST

Dietary guidelines for New Age Indian

HYDERABAD:  A change in socio-economic status generally brings change in food habits, which then gets reflected in the changed disease profile. “Indian consumers are increasingly taking to packaged food due to accessibility, affordability and attractive marketing,” said Dr B Sesikeran, director, National Institute of Nutrition.
Addressing a conference on National Priorities in Nutrition Research here on Monday, Dr Sesikiran added, “The incidence of diabetes has nearly doubled among the rural population over the last decade which is more than that observed in the urban populace.”
A book of revised Dietary Guidelines for Indians, was released on the occasion, which reveals the increase in lifestyle-related diseases among both the urban and rural population.
Dr Sesikeran said the book meant for the general public, monitors the shifting profile of nutrition-related diseases over time. “The data presented indicates that the average blood pressure has increased in Indians due to increased consumption of processed foods and snacks,” said the director.
A new guideline has been specifically included about ‘regular physical activity’, keeping in mind the increasingly sedentary lifestyle being followed. The upper limit for Body Mass Index (BMI) which determines whether a person is considered obese has been lowered from 25 to 23, as Asians are at a higher risk of obesity and cardiac arrests at marginally high BMIs, he added.
However, the new-found affluence has failed to trickle down to those at the bottom, as the poor remain calorie-deficient and incidence of anaemia among children and pregnant women has increased.
 He said the book recommends an increase in fat intake by 20 percent than what it was in 1998. “The book also recommends increase in calcium intake for children and adolescents to 600-800 mg per day considering under-nutrition and stunted growth still prevails,” added Dr Sesikeran.