|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Explain the significance of Food fortification for India.Conclusion: Write a way forward.
India ranks 101 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2021, with a 15.3% undernourished population, the highest proportion of stunted children (30%), and wasted children (17.3%). Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
Significance of Food fortification for India:
- Cost-effective:Foods that are high in certain nutrients can be expensive. E.g. fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids but may cost too much to buy regularly. Eggs, milk, and other products can be fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. These products often cost less and still have similar nutritional value.
- Prevents nutrition-related illness: As in National Family Health Survey-5 data, every second Indian woman is anaemic, every third child is stunted and malnourished, and every fifth child is wasted.g. folic acid is added to many fortified products. During pregnancy it lowers the risk of birth defects.
- No alteration of food characteristics: It does not alter the characteristics of the food like the taste, aroma or the texture of the food.
- Quick implementation: It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time.
- Wide reach: Since the nutrients are added to widely consumed staple foods, fortification is an excellent way to improve the health of a large section of the population also for those who are economically disadvantaged do not have access to safe and nutritious food.
- It is a socio-culturally acceptableway to deliver nutrients to people as it does not require any change in eating habits or behaviour.
Food fortification, according to stalwarts of nutrition, is a cost-effective complementary strategy to address multiple micronutrient deficiencies. The intervention, carried out with precautions, is the key to the malnutrition issue which the nation continues to struggle with.