In an effort to provide healthy food to the students, a number of universities and colleges in the country have informed the University Grants Commission (UGC) about their decision to ban junk food in their cafeterias.
The UGC had recently sent a circular advising universities and colleges to ban junk food and aerated beverages in their canteens. The ban list includes fizzy drinks, cutlets, fish fries and fish fingers, burgers and hot dogs.
The UGC officials, however, said these colleges have not banned all kinds of junk food as prescribed by the commission, especially the aerated drinks. It was because of opposition from the students and even the faculty members, an official said.
The UGC advisory was based on a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the adverse impact of junk food on children’s health, which includes obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even cancer.
A study conducted by Dr Anoop Mishra of New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences had found that children who consume junk food are at an early risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases. About 33 per cent of nearly 1,850 schoolchildren who were interviewed, eat junk food three or more times a week, irrespective of their economic status, the study found.
The findings was shared by the Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss with the HRD minister Arjun Singh, who asked the UGC to send a health advisory to the universities and colleges.
According to the UGC, the positive indication is that the educational institutions are willing to prohibit sale of unhealthy food in the canteens.