• Introduction: Poshan or nutrition is the study of how the body uses all the essential nutrients in food to fuel and nourish itself. An individual’s nutrition, or poshan, starts right from the day they are born and lasts till they leave the world. It plays a crucial role in an individual’s overall development and well-being throughout their life. Your body is your temple, and taking care of it by providing it with good nutrition is extremely important. Here, good nutrition is feeding the body with essential nutrients. In India, the entire month of September will be subdivided into weekly themes as national nutrition week to promote holistic nutrition.
  • Benefits of Poshan or Nutrition: Nutrition is undoubtedly the key ingredient of a healthy lifestyle; therefore, every individual needs to understand the importance of nutrition in daily life. Here in this article, we have listed some of the most important benefits of nutrition.

National Nutrition Week

(a) Weight Management: Most of us fall prey to fad diets in our endeavor to lose those extra kilos. It may eventually worsen our condition by depriving the body of 

essential nutrients. Eating a diet abundant in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is one of the healthiest ways to lose weight. The first step towards attaining a healthy weight in a nutritious way is to understand the importance of nutrition in food and change your food habits by swapping deep-fried, junk, and processed foods with healthy, nutrition-packed foods.

(b) Protection from lifestyle and chronic diseases: Many lifestyles and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease lead to high mortality and morbidity. These are caused by inadequate nutrition. Since treating such conditions is conservative, a preventive approach should be incorporated by following a nutrient-dense diet plan to minimize the onset and progression of such chronic diseases. It will also reduce the development of other conditions or symptoms from such lifestyle diseases. Again, a nutrient-dense diet strengthens the immune system to protect your body from various diseases.

(c) Delaying the aging process: Our ancestors lived longer and were more energetic than the current generation. It is because they knew the importance of nutrition and always consumed healthy, unadulterated food. One can achieve high levels of energy, vigor and prevent the ill effects of aging like grey hair and weak bones by switching to a nutritious diet

What is Rashtriya Poshan Maah?

Rashtriya Poshan Maah (national nutrition month) is a flagship program under the Ministry of Women and Child Development initiative in collaboration with the NITI Aayog and various other stakeholders and ministries under the Poshan Abhiyan. It helps to sensitize the Indian population to the importance of a healthy diet and holistic nutrition to improve the nutritional status of the Indian population. In India, approx. 62.7 % of children and adolescents are deprived of essential nutrients due to poverty, illiteracy, and various other reasons. It results in malnutrition-related diseases like stunting, anemia, pellagra, rickets, etc.

It is a Jan Andolan or People Movement that encourages the active participation of every individual or Jan Bhagidari in addressing the issues of malnutrition and educating everyone about the health benefits of proper nutrition along with preventing diseases related to malnutrition among children, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls. The national nutrition week is observed in the first week of September, from 1 to Sep 7, along the lines of Rashtriya Poshan Maah.

What is Poshan Abhiyan?

Poshan Abhiyan, or National Nutritional Program, is a flagship program of the Govt. of India that was launched in the year 2018 and aims to tackle the problem of malnutrition in India. The Poshan Abhiyan, or National Nutrition Week under the National Nutrition Program, finds its genesis in the year 2017 when a roadmap was designed by the NITI AAYOG that successfully analyzed the key issues surrounding the problem of malnutrition among women and children. The National Council on Nutrition, headed by the Vice-Chairman of NITI AAYOG, is a body of national importance that provides coordination and convergence to the government on issues related to nutrition by preparing policy guidelines timely to address the problems related to nutrition in the country. 

Key Objectives of Poshan Abhiyan

  • Curbing Stunting: Stunting is a condition in which a child’s height fails to grow with age. Stunting occurs when a child is malnourished. Stunting affects the child both at a physical and mental level The Poshan Abhiyan, to which National Nutrition week is a sub-part, aims to reduce the effects of stunting from 38.4% to 25% by working at the ground level and providing critical Anganwadi services in the villages. 
  • Tackle anemia among children, pregnant women, and adolescent girls: Anaemia is the manifestation of low hemoglobin levels or red blood cell counts in the blood. It gives rise to symptoms like fatigue, lack of concentration, shortness of breath, and to name a few. Iron deficiency is one of the most prominent causes of anemia out of all other possible causes. The Poshan Abhiyan aims to decrease anemia due to nutritional deficiency by 3% yearly.

 The Benefits of Poshan Abhiyan:

  • The implementation of Nutrition Mission or Poshan Abhiyan will be implemented in a phased manner. All the States and Union Territories will actively participate in covering more than 11 crore people in India.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development will launch an atlas to locate the food grains throughout the country and aid the scheme to promote the cropping of nutritious- dense food in local areas.

What is a balanced Diet?

A balanced diet is a concoction of all food groups that is essential to provide the body with all the vital nutrients in a balanced proportion to promote the proper functioning of the body. All the micro and macronutrients like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, etc., are a part of a balanced diet. A Balanced diet is the watchful proportion of all the food groups in a proportional quantity for the health and wellness of the body. A healthy individual requires 2500 calories per day. However, the number of calories varies depending on age, sex, lifestyle, underlying illness, etc.

What is a Healthy Diet?

The benchmark of a healthy diet is food from all the rainbow colors. Below are some tips on achieving a healthy diet.

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Instead of going for exotic fruits and vegetables, you should switch to locally available seasonal fruits to gain the optimal benefits from the fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables should comprise half of your plate for a healthy diet.
  • Grains: A portion of your lunch and dinner should consist of grains. Whole grains like wheat, ragi, bajra, and jowar are more nutrient dense than refined flour.
  • Protein-Rich Food: Another half of your meal should have plant- and animal-based protein. You can consume protein in all three major meals. Boiled eggs for breakfast, legumes and cottage cheese for lunch, and dinner, chicken, and fish can be consumed as a healthy diet.
  • Healthy Fats: You should have a balanced intake of fats and consume them in moderation. Healthy fats options include olive oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil, desi ghee, etc. 
  • Spices: Apart from enhancing the aroma of food and tickling your taste buds, herbs offer certain health benefits. They are rich in phytonutrients with antioxidant properties. Spices include turmeric, cumin, chili powder, thyme, basil, etc. 

What is Healthy Eating?

We should adapt to the habit of healthy eating is a bit of standard advice we get from our elders. Eating food in the proper combination and at the appropriate time is usually called healthy eating. Apart from eating a balanced diet, a few habits will help to incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle.

  • Proper Hydration: You should regularly monitor your daily water intake to avoid dehydration. Instead of caffeinated drinks or sodas that will make you more dehydrated by their diuretic nature, drink water to balance the adequate amounts of fluids in your body.
  • Include Salads: Consume raw foods in the form of salads once a day. Raw fruits and vegetables are more nutrient dense as cooking destroys some essential nutrients. However, the best time to consume salads is during the day when the digestive system is at its peak.
  • Include Probiotics: Probiotic foods like curd helps to keep your gut healthy by introducing good bacteria into your stomach. So, curd in every meal is essential to fight harmful bacteria.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :-

1. When is National Nutrition Week Celebrated in India?

National nutrition week is observed yearly to raise public awareness of their nutritional eating habits from Sep 1 to Sep 7. National Nutrition Week 2022 will be scheduled for September 2022

2. What is National Nutritional Week?

National Nutritional Week 2022 is a program that aims to improve the awareness of the people in terms of nutrition and tackle the problem of malnutrition in India. When the Govt. of India launches the national nutrition week, it also prepares a specific national nutrition theme primarily focused on the year’s theme. For example, the National Nutrition week theme for 2021 was “feeding smart from the start “to raise awareness covering all aspects of nutrition-related issues. The National Nutrition week theme 2022 is not yet announced by the govt of India. At the global level, May 28 is celebrated as World Nutrition Day. 

3. What is Poshan Maah Activity?

Some of the Poshan Maah Activities include organizing assemblies with students to discuss the benefits of nutrition and the ill effects of malnutrition on the population of India. E- Quiz on the topic of nutrition encourages everyone for active participation. There were also other competitions like Nutrition Week poster making competition, Essay Competition, etc.