Unicef envoy, actor Priyanka Chopra bats for anaemia prevention in adolescents

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jul 02, 2015 21:54 IST

Goodwill ambassador of UNICEF, actor Priyanka Chopra on Thursday raised the pitch for iron and folic acid supplements for adolescent girls and boys to prevent anaemia.

“India is a young country and it can achieve progress only when the young people are healthy and able to chip in to the development process,” the actor said, while interacting with reporters in Bhopal on Thursday.

“But when I find that more than 50% of young boys and girls are anaemic and are not growing physically or mentally, as they should, I wonder whether we are able to ensure that they would grow to be healthy citizens?”

Talking about the weekly iron folic acid supplementation (WIFS) programme of the government of India, the actor said: “It is really simple. A blue pill (iron folic acid tablet) every week and balanced nutritious diet could do the trick. I am grateful to UNICEF and GoI for taking up this cause.”

Discussing how anaemia was adversely affects the mental and physical capacity of young boys and girls, “Adolescence is second highest growth spurt period and during this age if the young people are fed and cared well, they can grow up to be healthy citizens,” he said.

Sushma Dureja, deputy commissioner (adolescent health division), ministry of health and family welfare said from the weekly iron folic acid tablet, emphasis was also on deworming youths every six months, referring moderate and severe anaemia cases to health facility and nutrition and health education to encourage consumption or locally available iron rich food.

Deputy director (nutrition) of National Health Mission, MP, Pragya Tiwari mentioned that in MP the WIFS programme reaches out to 72,43,132 adolescents in age group of 10-19 years. The programme was run with support of school education department and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS),

'Why don't you stop eating junk food?'

Actress Priyanka Chopra defended Bollywood actors brand endorsements in the light of the recent Maggi controversy and said that ensuring products are good for health is the sole responsibility of the companies concerned.

“When we sign any contract to endorse any product, it is the responsibility of the company to ensure that whatever information is given about it is true as well as legal in all aspects…Actors can't be blamed for it since the government has approved it and given license to these companies,” she told reporters.

Replying to a question, the actress said celebrities were soft target for any such controversy, but she did not see any harm in such endorsements. “Rather than asking us to stop such endorsements, you should stop eating junk food,” she said.

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