Stop junk food sale, encourage intake of nutritious food and promote physical activity — is what the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked all states to tell schools in order to check child obesity.
A quarter of children in urban India are either overweight or obese, according to the NCPCR. A National Sample Survey Organisation survey released in May reported per capita fat consumption among urban Indians, including school children, increased from 34 grams in 1993-94 to 50 grams in 2004-05. This has prompted the NCPCR to issue guidelines to schools on food and nutrition.
The NCPCR wants to ban sale of soft drinks and fast food in school canteens and a special tax on junk food. Instead, it wants schools and districts to establish nutrition standards, which reflect the cultural diversity of students, their food preferences and special dietary needs.
Every school, especially the new ones, should have full service kitchens to prepare fresh food.
It should be mandatory for schools to display information on the nutrition content of the food served, the guidelines state.
The guidelines say children should be encouraged to eat vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish, poultry products, yoghurt and healthy beverages such as milk and juices (without added sweetener).