The Delhi Government has proposed a ban on junk food in school canteens following a report by the Delhi Diabetics Research Centre (DDRC). The DDRC in its report has shown concern about the increasing number of children being affected by diabetes.
A survey carried out by DDRC in 38 schools showed that one in every five children is clinically unhealthy or obese and junk food rampant in the school canteens contributed towards this cause. Some 5,000 children between the ages of 8 and 14 years were screened in this process.
'We found that 55 percent children from private schools and 45 percent from government schools were in the category of obese individuals. We also found that most children prefer to eat out in canteens and hence we proposed to the government that junk food should be stopped in school canteens,' said A.K. Jhingam, chairperson of DDRC.
A questionnaire given to children in the course of the survey revealed that 81 percent children go to fast food joints at least once a week, 62 percent preferred junk food to green vegetables and 47 percent eat lunch at their school canteens.
To counter these alarming figures and even more alarming consequences, the government has asked for junk food to be stopped and instead urged mothers to form self help groups (SHG) and provide food in the canteens.
Welcoming the move, Shyama Chona, principal of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram in south Delhi said that healthy food should be encouraged among children. Similarly, principal of Holy Child School, Tagore Garden, said: 'We encourage children to bring home cooked food which is more nutritious and healthy.'