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Meeting Nutrition Challenge: New guidelines

Why is it in the news?

  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad, under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has issued comprehensive guidelines on nutrition for vulnerable groups, including pregnant and lactating women, children, and the elderly.

More about the news

  • The guidelines emphasize reducing salt and highly processed food consumption, as unhealthy diets contribute to an estimated 56.4% of India’s disease burden.
  • Proper nutrition from conception to age 2 is crucial for growth and development, preventing undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and obesity.
  • India faces both undernutrition and overnutrition issues, with micronutrient deficiencies affecting 13% to 30% of children aged 1 to 19, and high prevalence of anaemia, particularly in children.

About the guidelines

  • It recommends obtaining nutrients from at least eight food groups, limiting cereal consumption to 45% of total energy intake, and increasing protein intake to 14%. They also stress the importance of essential fatty acids and B12 for vegetarians.
  • Salt consumption should be limited to 5g per day, and highly processed foods high in fats, salt, and sugar should be avoided.
  • Pregnant women are advised on small, frequent meals and consumption of iron and folate-rich foods.
  • Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and given complementary foods thereafter.
  • Elderly individuals are encouraged to consume protein, calcium, and micronutrient-rich foods, with regular exercise to maintain bone density and muscle mass.

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