The Maharashtra government has banned the sale of junk food in school canteens. Based on recommendations the Centre issued over two years ago, the state has told schools not to sell food `High in Fat, Salt and Sugar' (HFSS) and has suggested healthy alternatives. The decision has been taken looking at childhood obesity+ and related diseases.
"HFSS food has very little vitamins and minerals... (Their consumption raises the chance of obesity) and other related diseases among children. The ef fects can be seen on a child's academic performance," said the government resolution issued by the school education department. School principals have been asked to ensure that the instructions are followed.
The suggested alternatives include chapatis, rice, vegetables and pulses, rajma, wheat upma, khichdi, payasam, idli and vada sambar, coconut water, lemonade and jaljeera. Though not many state-affiliated schools have canteens, the education department's government resolution (GR) banning junk food in schools can be interpreted to include vendors who sell prepackaged or pre-cooked food on campus during breaks.
Concerned by food children eat, the Union ministry of women and child development (MWCD) formed a committee under the director of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. The panel noted that HFSS (High in Fat, Salt and Sugar) food increased chances of obesity, diabetes, and dental and heart problems.