Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 138  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 373-382

Food & nutrition security: Challenges in the new millennium

Nutrition Foundation of India, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prema Ramachandran
Director, Nutrition Foundation of India, C 13 Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi 110 016
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 24135187

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The World Food Summit in 1996 provided a comprehensive definition for food security which brings into focus the linkage between food, nutrition and health. India has been self sufficient in food production since seventies and low household hunger rates. India compares well with developing countries with similar health profile in terms of infant mortality rate (IMR) and under five mortality rate (U5 MR). India fares poorly when underweight in under five children is used as an indicator for food insecurity with rates comparable to that of Subsaharan Africa. If wasting [low body mass index (BMI) for age in children and low BMI in adults] which is closely related to adequacy of current food intake is used as an indictor for the assessment of household food security, India fares better. The nineties witnessed the emergence of dual nutrition burden with persistent inadequate dietary intake and undernutrition on one side and low physical activity / food intake above requirements and overnutrition on the other side. Body size and physical activity levels are two major determinants of human nutrient requirements. The revised recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for Indians takes cognisance of the current body weight and physical activity while computing the energy and nutrient requirements. As both under- and overnutrition are associated with health hazards, perhaps time has come for use of normal BMI as an indicator for food security.

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