CHUCK THE JUNK

Down to Earth - - LETTERS - CYRUS SANCHES sanch­escyrus@hot­mail.com

This is with ref­er­ence to the ed­i­to­rial “Junk games and school­child­ren” (April 16-30, 2014). Su­nita Narain is right in ob­serv­ing that chil­dren are not the best judge of their food. It de­pends on us adults how much care we take to en­sure that our chil­dren eat only healthy food. Call it the McDon­ald’s ef­fect or the Maggi ef­fect, junk food like burg­ers, French fries, soft drinks and in­stant noo­dles have be­come a favourite among chil­dren the world over. To make mat­ters worse, fast food out­lets are spring­ing up in al­most ev­ery neigh­bour­hood. While Western coun­tries have al­ready ini­ti­ated steps to check this evil—tax­ing junk food, ban­ning it in schools and restrict­ing its advertisement— In­dia is yet to for­mu­late strin­gent guide­lines. To star t with, the govern­ment should clearly de­fine junk food—“how much of su­gar or fat or salt in food is un­healthy”. Be­sides im­pos­ing tax on junk food, the govern­ment should pro­hibit its sale in and around schools and col­leges. Most im­por­tantly, it should launch a rigourous cam­paign to ed­u­cate the youth and par­ents about the dan­gers of junk food and to pro­mote healthy eat­ing.

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