As obesity and diabetes spread “like wildfire” throughout India, traditional foods can make a difference: Tribal elders enjoy better health thanks to a more balanced diet

The world’s most important contemporary food movement

Phrang Roy, coordinator of the Indigenous Partnership for Agro-biodiversity and Food Sovereignty, talks of how Slow Food began as the dream of a few people. “The reality is food is political. Slow Food’s beginning was for consumers in urban centres. They then realised this is not possible without involving producers. Then they needed the custodians of culture: the women, elders, indigenous people. And so the network grew.” Stating that it’s become more influential over the last 3-4 years, he says, “It’s important because it emphasises the local aspect. Good, clean and fair. Good tasting, clean for the environment and fair to producers. It’s a simple message. It’s not a revolution. It’s not leftist. It’s not saying you have to break structures. It works with the government and the private sector. These are the strengths.” | To read the full post, click here >>

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The Adivasi way of life: Utopian or worth emulating by ‘mainstream’ society? – An ongoing debate

The [Adivasi] kids also felt, ‘our gods are in our homes, our trees, our forests. […]

We are more dependent on nature for food. They go to shops more. We live as a community not as individuals. Sharing is part of our lives. | To read the full post, click here >>

A celebration of tribal values and a healthy lifestyle among the Kaani community

Addressing the indigenous people, environmental educator S S Davidson said that the indigenous people comparatively enjoy better health in spite of some social underdevelopments. As per a survey by medical check-ups, the incidence of diabetes and blood pressure obesity were in a negligible percentage. Obesity and cardiac problems were never found. Caesarian cases were not reported in the community. | To read the full post, click here >>

National Award-winning documentary duo Kavita Bahl and Nandan Saxena fight the good fight

In I Cannot Give You My Forest, Kondh adivasis from Rayagada in Orissa simply but powerfully demonstrate their symbiotic relationship with the forest, which is a rich source of nutrition for them. The 30-minute documentary emphasises the need to preserve India’s forests from commercial exploitation, and is the latest attempt by the filmmakers to throw a light on the fragile state of India’s national resources. | To read the full post, click here >>

Traditional Millet Festival: Counteracting diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle diseases

Due to the growing change in the diet of the village people to more “easy” foods like ration rice, vegetables grown with heavy chemical usage and inorganically grown fruits, the health of the people is deteriorating fast and many new diseases are evolving. The cases of diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle diseases have dramatically increased, diseases that have been unheard of in this remote valley for the past twenty years. | To read the full post, click here >>

Westernised diets blamed as figures predict failure to meet 2025 target of no increase in obesity or diabetes beyond 2010 levels

Sarah Boseley and Helen Davidson in Darwin, The Guardian, 9 October 2015

Experts warn that targets will not be met because of the spread of the westernised diet around the globe as a result of heavy marketing by the food industry. […]

Behind the world’s weight gain is the rapid transition from traditional foods, often grown in the community, to modern urban diets – and especially the take-up of sugary soft drinks and snacks. Increased sedentary behaviour is also a major issue. […]

The WOF [World Obesity Federation] blames the multinationals, known as Big Food. “Their marketing strategies are to reach further and further into developing countries, to find ways they can increase their market share amongst even the lowest income populations,” says Lobstein. […]

A big problem is the assumption that children in developing countries are under-nourished and need more calories. Even where that has been true, says Lobstein, giving children highly calorific sugary drinks and snacks is not the answer. […]

“While concerns about child nutrition remain dominated by the language of under-nutrition and the adequacy of food supplies, these problems will only get worse.”

We know how to tackle obesity, he adds. “Preventing obesity means tough government action to limit the promotion of junk food, especially to children, to ensure healthier food is offered at work, in schools and institutions, and to encourage physical activity through better urban design and transport systems.

Like climate change, we know the answers to the obesity crisis. We know that tough policies will need to be implemented, and we know that such policies are challenged by powerful commercial interests. But we have no choice if we hope to meet those 2025 targets.” […]

“This problem is driven by availability, price, and promotion. That’s why it’s important to address those elements,” says Martin.

Source: Global obesity rise puts UN goals on diet-related diseases ‘beyond reach’ | Society | The Guardian
Date Visited: 30 September 2020

The current regime in India in its health plans has been trying by and large to copy the American system of subsidised private insurance. Health spending by the Indian government as percentage of GDP has long been one of the lowest for any major country, and the public health system is chronically dismal.

Pranab Bardhan in “The two largest democracies in the world are the sickest now” | Read more in | Recommendations >>

Rajib Dasgupta, Indian Express (Opinion), September 17, 2015

The latest edition of the Global Nutrition Report 2015 by the International Food Policy Research Institute, released on Tuesday, brings back the concerns over malnutrition into sharp focus

The RSoC was conducted by the ministry of women and child development with technical support from Unicef. It found 29.4 per cent of children (aged less than three years) to be underweight (low in weight for their age), while 15 per cent were wasted (low weight for their height) and 38.7 per cent were stunted (low in height for age). On the face of it, this compares well with the NFHS-3 data, in which the corresponding figures were 40.4 per cent (underweight), 22.9 per cent (wasted) and 44.9 per cent (stunted). But in absolute terms, the current levels of underweight and stunted children are abysmally high and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion that malnutrition is a “national shame” is still valid.

A civil society collective appealed to policymakers in a press release on July 23 to “declare malnutrition as a medical emergency to save India’s children dying of hunger”. […]

The Make in India call should apply no less to research and practice.

The writer is professor and chairperson, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Source: India’s Malnutrition Shame | The Indian Express
Date Visited: 30 September 2020

The bittersweet truth about diabetes in India

The Times of India, 9 March 2015

In India diabetes is a huge problem and further spreading like wildfire. Even as nations prepare to mark World Diabetes Day on November 14, WHO says about 80% of the diabetes deaths occur in middle-income countries. About 1 million people died from diabetes in India in 2012 […]

The irony of the situation is that nearly 5 out of 10 Indians with diabetes aren’t even aware that they have diabetes (1), a disease that exposes them to heart attack, stroke, amputations, nerve damage, blindness and kidney disease. Almost every organ in the body can be adversely affected with the onslaught of diabetes but with timely intervention and care, the disease can be contained and complications can be prevented. […]

Diabetes affects people both in urban and rural India though the impact on urban India is higher (2).Moreover, Indians get diabetes on an average 10 years earlier than their Western counterparts (3).

The factors contributing to our susceptibility to develop diabetes include:

1. Genetic – We have an increased predisposition to develop diabetes. A few genes have been identified which trigger diabetes making Indians four times more likely than Europeans to develop diabetes.

2. Diet – A typical Indian dietary profile includes high intake of carbohydrates, calories, total fat, saturated fat and sugar leading to obesity and thus increasing the diabetes prevalence rates. […]

It is not only a financial problem but intangible costs (pain, anxiety, inconvenience and generally lower quality of life) also have great impact on the lives of patients and their families and are the most difficult to quantify.

On a positive note, all of this can be prevented if we watch our blood sugar carefully, take appropriate action and intervene early and effectively.

Contributed by:
Prof. Hemraj Chandalia; M.D., F.A.C.P
Director, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism,
Jaslok Hospital and Research Center

Source: The bittersweet truth about diabetes in India – The Times of India
Date Visited: Sat Oct 10 2015 20:49:04 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Ethics

Environmental educationist S. Davidson attributes the remarkable health among elders of the Kaani community to these very factors: even during celebrations, they eat with moderation and avoid preserved food just as cooking with oil. During a recent medical survey among 350 members living in the Kanyakumari mountain forests, a Kaani woman aged 95 was found to be enjoying perfect health. Conversely, an increase of diabetes-induced eye problems and hypertension was observed among those who had adopted the less active, more stressful lifestyle characteristic of urban Indian society. | To read the full post, click here >>

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