Healthcare experts discuss with govt importance of good nutrition in child’s first 1000 days

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Healthcare experts on Tuesday held deliberations with the Women and Child Development Ministry on the importance of ensuring good nutrition from the time of conception to two years age of a child. The deliberations held through a webinar during the national nutrition month also saw participation from Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani.

HPS Sachdev, professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Epidemiology, said optimal nutrition is vital for both the mother and the child. “Good nutrition in the first 1,000 days are crucial as it ensures a good start to a productive life,” he stressed.

AV Kurpad, former Head of Physiology, St John’s Medical College, advised that normal, affordable, diverse home cooked diets are adequate to meet nutritional requirements and the diet should be carefully designed to avoid the risk of both under- or over-feeding. He stressed on exclusive breast-feeding for the first 180 days of a newborn’s life. Irani said soon composite guidelines on nutrition will be released.

“In the new guidelines the ministry has decided to promote use of jaggery instead of white sugar. They will be soon presented to the whole country,” Irani added. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising a series of webinars during the third ‘Poshan Maah’ being celebrated in September. The first webinar on best practices and success stories from Poshan Abhiyaan was organized on Monday. The second webinar was held on Tuesday on the topic of Nutrient Requirement for Children and Mothers during the first 1,000 days.

The ‘Poshan Maah’ or National Nutrition Month is celebrated every year in September. During the month, the government organises programmes to spread awareness on the issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children and focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

‘Poshan Maah’ is celebrated under the national nutrition mission or Poshan Abhiyan which aims to tackle malnutrition in the country. According to the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), 38.4 per cent children under five years of age are stunted or have low height-for-age and 21 per cent are wasted or have low weight-for-height in India. As many as 48.3 per cent of children in Bihar under five are stunted, the survey said.

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