[India] Nearly 56% of the Indian population is malnourished according to the world food programme report, said the director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) Ram Rajasekharan on Friday.
Inaugurating the two-day national conference on ‘Malnutrition: Challenges, success stories and the way forward’ organised by CFTRI, department of women and child development and JSW foundation, Rajashekaran urged people to grow spirulina – a kind of blue-green algae used to address protein and vitamin deficiency.
Pointing out that there were many misconceptions about malnourishment, he said, “According to the Omega-3 report, malnourishment is a common problem among the western population. You may add more calories in your daily diet, but in terms of requirement of particular requirements, one might remain undernourished. This deficiency is being passed down to the next generation. It cannot be solved in one go. We need to address the problem at our homes.”
Highlighting the benefits of growing spirulina at home, Rajasekharan added, “It’s a good alternative to get adequate proteins and vitamins. It can be grown at home, and used as a food supplement. Fish tanks can be used to grow algae.”
CSIR-CFTRI is ready to help people in cultivating this particular form of algae, which is used extensively in the Middle East. “The Karnataka government has been trying to address the problem of malnutrition. The integrated child development services (ICDS) scheme is a wonderful programme, and the government has been successful in reaching out to a large number of people. However, supplying iron tablets as food supplements is not very effective, since people develop nausea and vomiting, and this problem remains unaddressed,” he added.
He exhorted people to take matters of health into their own hands, and not expect the government or others to take responsibility for it.
CFTRI has prepared a package of seven products containing all the required nutrients to help beat deficiency. Experiments on these products are being carried out in Nanjangud, Rajasekharan said.
“We are trying to combat malnutrition by introducing Indian farmers to superfood such as chia and quinoa,” he added.
‘324 children are severely malnourished’
DC D Randeep, chief guest at the conference, said that nearly 324 children were severely malnourished in the district. “Most of them live close to the city. It’s a huge challenge for us. We need a multi-pronged approach to tackle the problem,” he added.
CSIR-CFTRI has taken up a pilot study on safety and nutritional value of mid-day meals served in Mysuru under the CSIR 800 programme, along with the state government. The study, which started in January, has already covered about 270 schools.
Institutions were randomly selected from nine education zones and food samples such as rice, sambar, milk and water for analysis. A detailed report on hygiene and conditions in which the meals are being prepared is also being submitted.
View original article at: Grow spirulina to beat malnourishment